LOTTERY : Grants criticised as too high-brow

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Local communities feel left out by National Lottery funding and think high-brow arts projects are getting too large a share of the pot, according to a survey published today. Two in three people believe too much money goes towards projects which only benefit wealthy art lovers.

The NOP study also revealed a belief that funding is biased towards cities rather than rural areas, and that people from the north think too much money is spent in the south.

Eighty-four per cent believe charity should begin nearer to home and more lottery cash should find its way into local community projects. And more than three quarters think they should have more say in where the money goes.

Two-thirds of people, questioned in the survey for the Somerfield supermarket chain, expressed disapproval over the Royal Opera House receiving lottery money.

While 85 per cent felt raising money for charities through the lottery was a good thing, 70 per cent were baffled by the criteria used to select recipients, and a similar majority wanted a greater say in which organisations received money.