Opinion - What will the changes really mean?

Two leading figures in the voluntary sector give their reactions to the Government's White Paper.

LUKE FITZHERBERT, researcher, Directory of Social Change

While confirming the gradual slide towards government influence of lottery funding for charities, the White Paper has several bits of good news.

First, the maximum grant from the rightly praised Awards for All small grants programme goes up to £10,000 from the present £5,000; but will the money for the programme go up as well?

Second, the proposal of a pilot scheme for a small 'micro-grant' - up to £500 - with truly local decision making is welcome.

It is good that the new distributor will also fund a few large 'flagship' projects, such as those of the former Millennium Commission.

There is, though, a striking omission. Will there be any grants in future for UK charities working overseas? Some complaints about the small amount of money going to overseas causes are noted, but the relevant new programme is only for "projects which will regenerate communities at a local, regional and national level".

Statutory directions may put this right in due course; alternatively, might the Daily Mail still win its xenophobic campaign against helping strangers?

DIANA GARNHAM, chief executive, Association of Medical Research Charities

I was surprised that the Association of Medical Research Charities was the only voluntary organisation to respond to the consultation on lottery licensing. Everyone seems to be preoccupied by the merger of the New Opportunities Fund and the Community Fund, but if we don't revitalise public support for the lottery, then the pot of funding for good causes will just get smaller.

I welcome many of the directions outlined in both papers. The proposed break-up of the licence and potential for separately run games will be an opportunity that can be tried for the Olympic Fund. If it works, there could be potential for other causes such as medical research.

The lottery is partly unpopular because it fails to support some popular causes. Medical research is one that has done badly, receiving less than 0.2 per cent of the funding so far. The public sees medical research as a good cause, so I welcome the strong direction from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that the distributors should pay much greater attention to the public's views and seek to reflect pupil priorities.

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