Groups win `community chest' of Lottery cash

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The Independent Online
Labour is to set up a "community chest" from National Lottery funds to aid small organisations such as pensioners' groups, children's clubs or arts classes.

The initiative, which will be announced just days after the latest lottery rollover, could yield tens of millions of pounds for small voluntary organisations.

The Prime Minister will reveal the plans in his speech to the Labour conference on Tuesday, and promise a pilot project in Scotland starting next year.

Under the proposals, which will require legislation, the money will come from four existing distributors which channel money into the arts, sport, heritage and millennium projects.

A new board will administer the cash with the aim of allowing small groups to apply without going through the present bureaucracy. Organisations say that at present, although only small sums are involved, they have to go through the same procedures as applicants for much bigger grants.

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