Concern over Lottery funds

IT was with great consternation that I heard that the Government is short of at least £900 million for the Olympics and the Chancellor wants the National Lottery to provide the money. Has the Chancellor considered the implications of this for the voluntar

IT was with great consternation that I heard that the Government is short of at least £900 million for the Olympics and the Chancellor wants the National Lottery to provide the money.

Has the Chancellor considered the implications of this for the voluntary and community Sector? In particular, those community groups delivering front line services, (once provided by the statutory sector), whose existence depends upon grants from the Lottery?

As the chief officer of the East Cambridgeshire Council for Voluntary Service and the Ely Volunteer Centre I can state with considerable experience that to deprive these groups of this source of funding will have disastrous effects on essential community-delivered services that so many have come to rely upon to simply maintain some semblance of daily living.

With Government funding cuts already being felt by local councils and PCTs, which in turn mean reductions in support to the VCS, both statutory and community groups turn to the Lottery funding streams. It was not too long ago when applications to the Lottery were rejected if the work being funded replaced a service previously provided by the statutory agencies. Not so now and the


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statutory agencies are mightily thankful for it.

As community service providers we know that those receiving services are not interested in how services are funded as long as they exist. It has historically been the role of the voluntary sector to identify local need, respond and work towards meeting it.

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My organisation is regularly advising and assisting voluntary and community groups with funding applications to the various Lottery funding streams, so I have first-hand knowledge of the services provided and the opportunities and activities that would be lost.

I also question how many purchasers of Lottery tickets know of the Chancellor's intentions? How many think Lottery money is specifically destined to support local good causes, community activities and preservation and would be unhappy to sponsor anything else?

The Chancellor should be thankful for the contribution made to local communities through Lottery grants, the support that it ultimately gives to both the Government and the VCS, and look elsewhere to fund the Olympics.

AVRIL HAYTER-SMITH

Acting chief officer

(East Cambs CVS)

Volunteer Centre Manager

Ely

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