LETTER : Ahead in the lottery game

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The Independent Online
From Mr Philip Jackson

Sir: Why this sudden rash of criticism about how the National Lottery funds are allocated? It has been known for a long time how the spoils would be divided. The fact that heritage and arts projects are receiving grants ahead of the rest says more about how the respective agencies have got themselves organised than anything else.

I personally disapprove of the Lottery on principle but, as an adviser to several voluntary organisations, I rang four or five distributing agencies and got them to send me their information packs explaining how to apply for grants.

The Arts Council sent a very full and helpful pack, skillfully put together. The National Heritage Memorial Fund similarly replied with a leaflet explaining the first steps in the application process. The Sports Council sent nothing, but when telephoned again apologised for having run out of material. The fourth, the National Lottery Charities Board, has said that it is still "in a consultation exercise with the voluntary sector" but hopes to be ready to invite applications in May (1995 presumably) and begin making grants in the autumn.

As it is these last two agencies whose grants will have the most potential to satisfy the ordinary punter that the proceeds are being well spent, it is sad that they couldn't get their act together faster.

Yours truly,

PHILIP JACKSON

Pyworthy, Devon

28 April

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