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Snowy Sutton and some thoughts on Non-Lottery Issues

6 February 2009

I spent the morning in the snowy London Borough of Sutton taking a look at progress with their Life Centre – an ambitious facility for young people and the wider community that is only possible to realise, thanks to a significant injection of funds from myplace, a Non-Lottery programme we operate under contract to the Department for Children Schools and Families.

Big-thinking discussions have been overwhelmingly dominated by debate with VCS organisations up to this point, so it was interesting to get the perspective of a statutory body on where and how Lottery money could best add distinct and additional value to their plans to help communities and people most in need. We also looked at how lottery money was going to improve community access to library facilities.

But back to Non-Lottery issues. The 2006 Act gave the Big Lottery Fund the power to distribute money on behalf of others and I am keen that where we have systems and expertise to bring to the table, we should be generous in enabling others to take advantage of them.

There are a few principles of engagement though:

First we will only contemplate acting in this way where the desired outcomes are consistent with our mission.

Second BIG must be absolutely clear that in taking on assessment, distribution and/or management of funds, we are adding value to the business.We are confident that our national reach, our understanding and support for the VCS and our knowledge about how to structure contractual opportunities in a way that enables them to contribute on terms that will enable them to add value, rather than having to relate themselves to traditional State-sponsored contractual frameworks are all strong cards.

Third we must, of course, be clear that this business is fully funded by our Non-Lottery partner and is not being subsidised inappropriately by Lottery money. These conditions have certainly been met in the Community Assets programme we operate on behalf of the Office of the Third Sector as well as DCSF’s myplace programme referred to above. The consultation asks if you can spot other opportunities in the period ahead.

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