Peter Wanless responds to a Sunday Telegraph article on Lottery-funded protesters
You may have read the article in The Sunday Telegraph today about Lottery-funded groups participating in today’s anti-GM protest in Hertfordshire. I’d like to reassure you that none of our funding has been spent in support of this campaign.
The two groups cited in the article have received Lottery funding for local food projects through schemes run by The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT) and The Plunkett Foundation respectively – organisations that we work with as experts in their field to help deliver our funding and ensure it has maximum impact in a particular area.
The Real Bread Campaign received funding from RSWT’s Local Food grants scheme to promote local bread production by supporting small businesses and community enterprises, and carrying out activities linking local bakers with schools, community projects and local services such as care homes. As the Real Bread Campaign is a national project, communities across the country benefit from better access to good quality bread, new skills in bread-making, and strengthened local economies due to better supported local bakers. The project is being developed as a membership campaign, enabling individuals and organisations across the country to get involved in the project.
Organiclea Ltd has been supported by both RWST and The Plunkett Foundation’s Making Local Food Work programme for a fantastic project to develop 12 acres of disused local authority plant nursery and half an acre of glasshouses, as a community food growing enterprise. The project aims to grow food sustainably and recruit volunteers from agencies supporting disadvantaged people, including those with learning difficulties and long-term unemployed people, living in North and East London.
All BIG’s funding is controlled and can only be spent in accordance with a project’s initial funding agreement; grants are monitored to ensure this happens. This same policy applies to Lottery funded programmes and funding schemes run by our partners.
While it is true that some BIG grantholders carry out campaigning activity as part of their funding from us, in line with Charity Commission guidance, BIG funding cannot be used to support any political campaigns or protests which are partisan or doctrinaire. We carry out checks to ensure that any public statements and activities carried out by organisations funded by BIG, in policy announcements, publications or on websites, are consistent with maintaining broad public confidence in the good causes that benefit from the National Lottery.
A good example of a BIG funded campaign is Time To Change, which in its first four-year phase was supported by a £16m grant from BIG and is now supported in phase two by the Department of Health. To date the campaign has made enormous improvements to combat mental health discrimination and change public attitudes, recording a 4% reduction in discrimination reported by people with mental health problems since it began.