Letter: The art of lottery funding

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MAY I correct the impression in your article "Arts bodies fight to top up lottery" (25 February) that Sadler's Wells may have to forgo a pounds 30m grant. The fact is we are currently drawing down pounds 4m of the grant to complete our designs with partnership funding in place.

Sadler's Wells is confident that it will commence construction work this summer and that before completion it will have raised all the necessary partnership funding. However, we suggest that the situation has now changed and that there should be flexibility in interpreting the many criteria relating to partnership funding.

According to the Association of Business Sponsorship of the Arts, the total arts partnership funding requirement could raise pounds 1bn over the next few years. Major arts organisations will, simultaneously, be launching the largest-ever fundraising drives throughout the UK. There is a severe risk of donor fatigue and exhaustion. It is inconceivable that all the current projects will be able to raise the partnership level of funding if every penny has to be in place before a two- or three-year construction project can start.

The minimum 25 per cent partnership funding for large schemes was established to demonstrate support and to help eke out Lottery funding. For smaller projects there is only a 10 per cent partnership funding requirement. A reduction in line with other Lottery Boards to a 20 per cent minimum threshold for partnership funding would be a logical immediate step.

Ian Albery

Sadler's Wells, London EC1