OPINION: Hot Issue - Should there be lottery funds dealing with single issues?

The recent Green Paper Review of Lottery Funding suggested cross-cutting funding for causes, such as youth, which now straddle different programmes and distributory bodies. The proposal aims to make lottery funding more effective and get it to groups that currently slip through the net of distributors.

Diana Garnham, chief executive, Association of Medical Research Charities


And especially not if these were decided by legislation. Medical research has done badly from the National Lottery so far, and I want to see it have a better chance in the future. But very narrow single-issue funds are not the answer. They would be open to greater political interference, and would be an administrative nightmare. The broadly based grant-giving expertise of the existing boards would be fragmented and lost. There is also a danger that themes like this get stale and no longer reflect need or opportunity. I'd favour broadly based funds that would run a mix of rolling and time-limited schemes within a wider framework to which voluntary organisations would be eligible to apply (so there would be no need for a separate Community Fund). For example, a Health and Social Care Fund would support medical and health research on an ongoing basis but have specific schemes to target issues such as the elderly, cancer, palliative care, rare disease or new technology over time.

Helen Bush, policy officer, NCVO


There is a difference between allocating funds to groups that claim not to receive their fair share of lottery funding and using these funds to ensure an integrated or co-ordinated approach from lottery distributors - we favour the latter, as proposed in the Review of Lottery Funding.

Allocating specific funds to areas that often require funding from more than one distributor (for example, community halls) would be a welcome way to help prevent some of these projects falling between the different lottery distributors' stools. And where it is increasingly important for approaches to be "joined up

or integrated, for example in relation to services for children and young people, it could be helpful for lottery distributors to mirror this in a joint fund. The overall aim should be to make it easier for applicants to apply for lottery funding and to make lottery funding more effective. But there should not be more lottery distributors created to administer these funds. Instead, existing distributors should team up to deliver these funds.

David Tyler, national director, Community Matters


Funding for multi-purpose community buildings has been made more difficult by the fact that they are used for arts, sports, social welfare and various other activities. Community organisations applying for lottery funds sometimes find themselves sent from pillar to post by individual distributors which will not fund beyond their own limited remit. The experiment taking place in the West Midlands this autumn to bring three of the principal lottery funders together for a top-sliced programme is something of a campaign victory for ACRE and Community Matters, which have been highlighting this problem since 1999. It allows for a single front-door application process and leaves the complex business of who pays what to the distributors.

These lessons could be applied more widely, and I am sure other sectors would benefit from an approach that was centred on the issue, not the peculiarities of the funder. As long as combining funds doesn't mean cumulative funding criteria, and doesn't mean competition between causes which might edge out the less professionalised parts of the sector or those bids that look riskiest, I would be in favour of a general extension of the approach.

Elaine Fox, head of trusts, Barnardo's


There could be a danger of taking one set of silos and replacing them with another. However, any recommendations that simplify the complexity of lottery funding applications can only be a good thing. To trawl through all the various lottery funding bodies to find the best fit can be a time-consuming and costly, exercise. Having a dedicated fund for children/youth charities should mean that support staff would have in-depth knowledge of this specific area, therefore establishing greater clarity and consistency when working with applicants and building on existing good relations. It is hoped that the expertise within the existing distributory bodies is maintained and enhanced under any proposed new system. Barnardo's will be considering the consultation paper carefully before deciding on its final response.

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