Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by The Millennium Commission


  1.1  The Millennium Commission is a UK-wide body, established under the National Lottery etc Act 1993. Its sole purpose is to distribute 20 per cent of the National Lottery Distribution Fund for "expenditure on projects to mark the year 2000 and the beginning of the third millennium".

  1.2  The Commission's work can be divided into four programmes: capital projects; the Millennium Awards Scheme; the Millennium Festival; and the Millennium Experience. The Commission plans on the basis of an expected total income of £2.236 billion and Funds have been allocated as follows:

    —  £1,283 million to capital projects;

    —  £198 million to the Millennium Awards Scheme;

    —  £20.7 million for Festival activities as part of the up to £100 million Festival Fund operated jointly by the original Lottery Distributors and;

    —  £11 million to First Weekend 1999-2000 and New Year's Eve 2000 celebrations;

    —  £628 million to the New Millennium Experience Company;

    —  £95 million for running costs (4.4 per cent of total budget).

Examples of Breadth of Millennium Commission Funding

(i)  Tate Modern—£50 million grant—£134.5 million project

  A new national art gallery enabling the Tate's modern art collection to be established on a permanent basis. This wonderful transformation of Bankside Power Station is a major catalyst for the regeneration of this area of London and is bringing significant benefits to the Borough of Southwark.

(ii)  Millennium Greens—£10.1 million grant—£20.2 million project

  This scheme is enabling up to 250 communities to have their own Millennium Green tailored to suit their own needs. Millennium Greens are located in cities, towns, suburbs, villages and hamlets and will be permanent breathing spaces for our communities.

(iii)  Chinese Arts in the Park Festival—£30,000 grant

  The Dragon Festival 2000 was a double celebration of the Millennium and the Year of the Dragon which ran from January until March. Activities included the creation of a new play "Dancing Along The Silk Road", Chinese puppet shows, kite making workshops, performances by dragon dancers, folk dancers, musicians and acrobats.

(iv)  Cardiff Millennium Festival—£645,000 grant

  A year-long programme of activities which started off 2000 with the spectacular Calennig celebration. Events through the year include a Millennium Youth Arts Celebration and an International Millennium Festival. A 12 month programme of performance, participation and celebration, creating events and opportunities sustainable beyond the year 2000.

(v)  Save the Children Fund "Saying Power" Millennium Awards—£1.2 million grant

  Seventy-two awards averaging £15,500 to young people in 13 areas of the UK to undertake projects which seek to encourage young people to get involved in decision making and improving services which affect them and others.

(vi)  One Millennium Award winner who received £2,222 under the Scarman Trust Millennium Award scheme has transformed the lives of people living on one of London's most notorious inner-city estates. The Award winner has brought a sense of community, purpose and hope to the residents. By setting up a residents' association and offering vital facilities such as a drop-in centre, 24 hour helpline and a savings club, they have improved community life and also inspired others to become actively involved in revitalising the area.

Capital Projects

  1.3  The Commission is supporting 190 capital projects on 3,000 sites. These include over a hundred and fifty smaller one-off capital schemes with a regional or local impact, and "umbrella projects": ie grants which cover groups of schemes with a common theme, often including projects which individually would be too small to apply (normally with grants of less than £100,000). The Commission offers grants of up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the total cost of a project.

  1.4  The Commission's portfolio of capital projects is incredibly diverse. They range from the widely acclaimed Eden Project in Cornwall to the Moss Side Youth Powerhouse providing facilities for young people in Manchester, and 21st Century Halls which will create over 300 community centres across the UK. Other projects include the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff which hosted the final of the 1999 Rugby World Cup and the 5,000 mile National Cycle Network. 87 projects are already open.

Millennium Awards

  1.5  The Commission also provides grants to individuals to enable them to achieve a personal aspiration whilst benefiting the community in which they live. The Awards have been described as "enabling ordinary people to do extraordinary things". In order to ensure that Award schemes meet properly identified needs and are managed by experts in the relevant fields, the Commission makes grants to existing organisations, known as Award Partners, which then recommend grants for individuals. These recommendations must be approved by the Commission before a grant offer can be made. The individual Awards are monitored by the Award Partners which include many nationally known charities as well as more local organisations.

  1.6  The Commission has already offered £79 million in Awards to 79 partner bodies running 81 schemes which will eventually benefit some 25,000 individuals. A further £20 million of Awards are planned by the year 2001 and with earlier schemes this should provide grants to nearly 40,000 individuals by 2004. In June a competition was launched to find an agency to administer an endowment of £100 million and continue the Awards into the next millennium (see section 4 below).

  1.7  The Millennium Fellowship has also been set up to recognise and celebrate the achievements of individual Award recipients who have completed their Awards and to encourage networking and the sharing of ideas and experience.

Millennium Festival

  1.8  A contribution of £20.5 million has been made by the Commission to the Festival fund of up to £100 million established by UK Lottery Distributors. This represents the largest cross-Lottery Distributor initiative ever undertaken and the first UK-wide collaboration.

  1.9  Awards were split between larger grants of over £5,000 and smaller grants of between £500 and £5,000. The Commission has funded nearly 400 larger Awards with total grant of over £17 million and nearly 1,500 of the smaller Awards with total grant of over £4.5 million.

  1.10  In addition, the Commission provided £5m to fund celebrations over the First Weekend of the year 2000 in 21 towns and cities and has allocated further funds to help a larger number of towns and cities celebrate New Year's Eve 2000. A further £6 million is being made available to help towns and cities celebrate New Year's Eve 2000.

Millennium Experience

  1.11  The Millennium Experience comprises both the Dome at Greenwich and a major National Programme co-ordinated by the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC). This memorandum does not provide detail on the Millennium Experience as it was dealt with extensively in the Committee's recent inquiry "Marking the Millennium in the United Kingdom".

  1.12  The UK-wide National Programme of events and activities involves schools, voluntary groups, churches, local authorities and businesses. These initiatives are linked to the theme of the Experience—that the new millennium is "a time to make a difference".


The Millennium Commission's projects are additional

  2.1  The Commission has been keen to ensure that its projects are additional—in essence that they have added to what might otherwise have been available. In practice this has meant supporting some projects which would not have happened at all without the Commission, some which might have happened but would have been of a lower quality and some which might not have been realised so quickly. We have also been keen to fund new types of projects and use public funds in new ways, such as for a whole generation of Science Centres, or for the exciting environmental education facilities which are being established across the UK. This has sometimes meant that the Commission has taken measured risks in funding projects that would not otherwise have been realised but we believe that these risks have been justified by the exciting projects which are now operating around the country.

Projects have attracted funding from other sectors

  2.2  The Commission's decision to offer a maximum of 50 per cent of the total capital cost of any one capital project imposed a tough challenge on grant recipients to attract funding from other sectors. They have been extremely successful in doing this and have already secured over £1.6 billion with only 2.5 per cent of the target remaining unsourced. The total value of capital projects funded by the Millennium Commission is £3 billion. A detailed breakdown of the sources of partnership funding for Commission projects is at Annex A.[28]


  3.1  As a short life body with only a limited period over which to distribute its funds the Commission was limited in the ways in which it could adapt its policies in response to public and political opinion. The Commission has, however, sought to adapt according to public and political concerns and has made full use of the new powers granted by the National Lottery Act 1998, including being the first distributor to solicit applications. The Commission was also the first Distributor to make grants to individuals.

Funding strategy

  3.2  The Millennium Commission's funding strategy is based upon consultation with the public and the desire to fund projects which would almost certainly not have happened without Commission funds. The Commission believes that the diversity of its programmes and innovation of individual projects will leave a lasting legacy of the move into the new millennium.

  3.3  Following its formation the Commission needed to decide how best to use the funds available to it within the constraints set by the National Lottery etc Act 1993. Although it was never the intention that all projects should be completed by 2000, there was clearly a need to ensure that the public could see some of the results of the Millennium Commission's use of their Lottery funds in the millennium year.

  3.4  The Commission began by undertaking a wide ranging consultation including roadshows, speeches and meetings. Following these consultations, Commissioners decided that the majority of the available funds should go to capital projects which would serve as a lasting reminder of the change of millennium. More specifically, they agreed that the Commission should aim to have a major capital project in each region and country and that projects should be based around the five themes which had emerged from the consultation, later titled: promoting science and technology; supporting our communities; revitalising our cities; encouraging environmental sustainability; and investing in education.

Soliciting applications

  3.5  In August 1998 the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport issued new Policy Directions to the Commission following the implementation of the National Lottery Act 1998. It should be noted that prior to this, the Commission had targeted publicity at regions and groups that had not made significant numbers of applications. However, the previous Directions had prevented the Commission from soliciting applications from particular geographical areas or social groups, even where it had been noted that relatively few applications were coming from certain groups such as black communities.

  3.6  In July 1999 the Commission therefore held a further funding round targeted specifically at capital projects which "reflect the aspirations and achievements of black communities in Britain". The Commission's powers of solicitation were used to invite applications from short-listed bodies. 44 applications were received seeking a total of nearly £68 million. To date, seven of these applicants have been awarded grants totalling £9.33 million.

  3.7  As not all of the funding allocated for Round 4 has been awarded, the Commission decided to hold one further applicants round for projects which "reflect the aspirations and achievements of ethnic minority communities in Britain". In order to overcome some of the problems which applicants from this sector have had in developing their applications, the Commission decided to award development grants to a small number of applicants who would then be invited to make a second application for a full grant. In doing so the Commission solicited applications from a number of projects which it thought stood most chance of reaching fruition. Development grants have been awarded to three of these and to one other non-solicited approach. Full applications are due to be received in January 2001.

Smaller grants—Awards and Festival

  3.8  The Government has been keen to ensure that a higher number of smaller Lottery grants are available and to make it easier for small, community based organisations, to access these funds. The Commission's Millennium Awards programme, discussed above, will eventually fund nearly 40,000 individuals, all of whom are making a difference in their communities. Although Award Partners need to provide partnership funding, individuals themselves do not and the Awards are, therefore, accessible to all.

  3.9  In addition, the Millennium Festival Awards for All programme for grants from £500 to £5,000, run jointly with other distributors, involved a simpler application process making it more accessible to the type of organisation which might not previously have been confident about applying for Lottery funding.

Regional spread of grants

  3.10  Although the original Policy Directions issued to the Commission by the then Secretary of State for National Heritage prevented the solicitation of applications, the Commission has always been keen to see a broadly equitable geographical spread of projects around the regions and countries of the UK. Although there are some discrepancies, we believe that we have broadly achieved our objective and have achieved our aim of having at least one major project in each region and country.

  3.11  There is, however, a wide variation in capital projects grant per head across the UK. This is partly explained by the policy of having a landmark grant in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which have a relatively low population, ie a £50m landmark grant in Northern Ireland automatically means a high grant per head. Tables of grants for each Commission programme by RDA are attached at Annex B.[29]

  3.12  However, the Commission also depended on regions submitting applications. Where a region did not make sufficient applications it impacted on grant made. Thus although the East of England only received £8.97 per head (national average £21.38) they were slightly more successful than the national average in terms of the proportion of their applications which were successful. Of the applications they made, 11 per cent were successful whereas the national average was 10 per cent—ie while the quality of the applications they made were on a par with the average, their poor success rate is explained by the fact that they did not make many applications. Conversely while Scotland was highly successful in grant per head (£37.40), they were only marginally more successful (13 per cent) in terms of turning applications into grants, ie the fact that they made lots of applications contributed to their success. London was the least successful in turning applications into grants. Only six per cent of applications were successful—a fact that might surprise many people.

  3.13  The variation across the country in percentage of applications which were successful shows less variation than the grant per head figure. Much of the variation is therefore accounted for by the pattern of applications. A table showing the percentage success rate for capital projects for each RDA by amount granted and number of grants, along with grant per capita, is attached at Annex C.[30]


  4.1  By the end of 2000 the Millennium Commission will have awarded nearly all of its available funds. Our perspective on the future of Lottery funding is, therefore, different from that of the other distributors. The cessation of Lottery funding will have varying effects on the diverse programmes we have supported.

Millennium Festival and Experience

  4.2  Two of the Commission's programmes, the Festival programme and Millennium Experience will have run their course by the end of the year. It is, however, good to note that some of the towns and cities which held First Weekend celebrations and will be celebrating again on New Year's Eve 2000 have indicated a willingness to make such celebrations an annual event.

Capital Projects

  4.3  The Lottery have moved away from large capital grants to providing smaller grants aimed at people and activities. The Commission has funded both but, perhaps more than any other distributor, we have been involved in the big capital investment game. The Commission's work may well have satisfied a pent up demand for certain facilities and in this respect the Commission's withdrawal from this field may not be missed. The Commission has also sought the largest amount of partnership funding and once again the trend has been towards more flexibility. However, the Commission has been able to invest in significant urban infrastructure projects and act as a catalyst for regeneration and this function may be missed. Because the Commission did not set a rigid formula as to how money would be distributed around the country it has been able to provide facilities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which would be outside the scope of national specific distributors, eg Hampden Park (Glasgow), Millennium Stadium (Cardiff) and Odyssey (Belfast). In addition, there are two significant areas of capital project funding where the flow of money from the Commission may be missed:

(i)  Science centres

  4.4  The Commission's capital projects programme has funded science centres on a scale the country had not hitherto seen. They use leading edge technology and educational techniques to provide an exciting experience for visitors and an important educational resource. These centres have told the Commission that they need to plan to replace their technology over time if they are not to lose their attractiveness to paying visitors and their usefulness as providers of education.

(ii)  Environmental projects

  4.5  The Commission has funded many projects which focus on the environment in nature, from visitor centres such as Slimbridge 2000 and the Scottish Seabird Centre to Millennium Greens and Woods on Your Doorstep which are providing green spaces for people to enjoy all over the UK. Other projects such as The Millennium Seed Bank and the National Botanic Garden of Wales focus on research as well as being open to the public.

  4.6  There are some alternative sources of funding for these type of projects, for instance the New Opportunities Fund has recently announced a scheme with some similarities to our Millennium Greens project, but there is possibly not the breadth of funding for the diversity of projects which the Commission has been able to support.

Millennium Awards

  4.7  From the outset it has been the Commission's intention that the Millennium Awards Scheme should be part of its long-term legacy and it therefore allocated £100 million to enable the Awards Scheme to continue beyond the five year programme set up in 1996, which comes to an end in December this year. As the Commission itself will not be around to administer the scheme into the future, in June we launched a competition to find an agency to run the Awards in perpetuity. Commission staff are now working closely with shortlisted applicants. Full applications are required by 16 October and a decision on the successful applicant will be made in December. The new scheme will begin towards the end of 2001.

  4.8  The Committee will wish to note that although the Endowment will be a grant, the award will be made in the spirit of delegation of decision making which the 1998 Act makes possible.

Maintaining the Momentum

  4.9  The Commission is holding a series of five seminars entitled "maintaining the momentum of change" focusing on the five key themes of the Commission's work: Exploring, Building, Breathing, Uniting and Learning. The first of these, "Exploring" was held in early May and looked at the public understanding of science and technology and the contribution which the Millennium Commission's investment is making in this area. The second, Making Connections—Building Communities, was held in September and focused on the ways in which Commission projects and Awards have drawn communities together at many different levels. The remaining seminars will be held before the end of 2000.


  5.1  As well as its ongoing work to see its remaining capital projects through to completion, the Commission is undertaking two exercises which will evaluate the effect which the Millennium Commission's funding is having.

Economic Impact Assessment

  5.2  The Commission has commissioned an Economic Impact Assessment survey which will assess more accurately the effects which the spending of such unprecedented sums over such a period of time has had on the economy. The study will take place over the autumn and the final report covering capital projects, Millennium Awards and Festivals, and linking with similar work being undertaken on the Millennium Experience, is due at the end of the year. A preliminary analysis of the number of construction jobs created by the Commission's programme totalled 46,000.

Social Impact Study

  5.3  The Commission published the findings of an independent Social Impact Study of its Millennium Awards on 22 September. The study sought to evaluate the effects of the Awards to date and provide important information for the whole charity sector on the effectiveness of grants to individuals. 982 Award recipients were interviewed along with 39 Award Partners. Key findings were that:

    —  90 per cent say their project has been a success in terms of its effect on them;

    —  81 per cent say it has been a success in terms of its effects on their community (gap is probably because some projects are as yet unfinished);

    —  62 per cent say that the effects on them would not have happened without the Millennium Award projects, showing high additionality;

    —  85 per cent produced a public record of their project;

    —  70 per cent are planning to continue or extend their project in the future;

    —  the average time spent on a Millennium Award project is 144 days, roughly 1,000 working hours;

    —  the total of 40,000 grants could therefore add up to some 40 million hours of work; and

    —  the total value of the work of the 12,500 Award Winners to date has been calculated at £75 million.

NB: The £75 million is calculated using a minimum daily rate of £50 for voluntary work.


  Millennium Commission capital projects have attracted over £1.7 billion of partnership funding.

  The Commission has funded 27 major projects costing more than £30 million each, one in every country and region of the UK.

  The Commission had funded over 550 village and community halls.

  Through its funding programmes the Commission has attracted a further £2 billion of investment from public and private sources.

  The Commission was the first Lottery distributor to solicit applications.

  The Commission was the first Lottery distributor to offer grants to individuals.

  Nearly 40,000 individuals will receive Millennium Awards.

  The Millennium Awards will continue through a £100 million endowment.

  Through the Millennium Festival the Commission has supported the largest programme of year-long celebrations ever mounted in the UK.

  30 million people have attended First Weekend and Millennium Festival events.

  A quarter of a million volunteers are involved in the roll-out of projects across the UK.

October 2000

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