London Marathon bows to pressure from charities

The Flora London Marathon has introduced a Silver Bond scheme, giving way to pressure from a coalition of charities that complained they were effectively excluded from the event.

The scheme will run alongside the existing but controversial Golden Bond scheme, and will see 250 places given by Golden Bond holders to some of the 600 charities on the waiting list. The freed-up places will also be available to individuals who want to take part in the race.

The Silver Bond scheme will start in 2007 and offer one place every five years to up to 1,250 charities. The first 250 charities accepted will receive one place in 2007, the second 250 a place in 2008 and so on until 2012, when the rotation will start again. Each place will cost £300 plus VAT, and charities will be invoiced in October of the preceding year for the marathon in which the place is allocated.

The coalition of 50 charities, led by the Royal Blind Society, has been campaigning for greater inclusivity since this year's marathon (Third Sector, April 13).

Melanie Matthews, fundraising co-ordinator of TB Alert, one of the coalition members, said: "It's not what we hoped for, but we are in a better position than we were. We understand the position the organisers are in."

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