Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Why Did We Lose out on the Lotto?

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Why Did We Lose out on the Lotto?

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul McMillan

North East groups were knocked back for Lottery grants which totalled more than pounds 343.2m last year, a Chronicle probe has revealed.

The National Lottery's Big Lottery Fund turned down 785 applications last year from a mix of grassroots community groups, sports organisations and local authorities.

The North East received pounds 15.7m in grants last year which is equal to 6.7% of the total fund, the lowest percentage for any region in England.

This is despite two thirds of households in the region playing the Lottery or regularly buying scratchcards, the highest in the country.

And cash is likely to get tighter as ministers raid the lottery to fund the pounds 9.35bn bill for the 2012 London Olympics. It is estimated that pounds 1 in every pounds 5 will go towards the Olympics.

Don Foster, Parliamentary Liberal Democrat spokesman for Culture, Media and Sport, believes more than pounds 26m will be sucked away from grassroots sport in the North East to pay for the games.

He said: "This lost Lottery funding will put pressure on Gordon Brown to ensure sports get a fair deal in his review of government spending.

"He promised he would announce imminent measures to boost sport last October and we're still waiting. If he delays further, his legacy to sport as Chancellor will be a very poor one indeed."

David Hines, founder of the North of England Victims' Association, was turned down last year for a pounds 790 grant towards a family support service for families of murder victims.

The service, which would have also trained two volunteers as counsellors for bereaved parents, was knocked back by the Big Lottery Fund because of insufficient funds.

Mr Hines, from Jarrow, started the group in 1992 following the murder of his daughter Marie. He said: "Quite frankly I don't think we could have put in a better bid. …

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