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


Memorandum submitted by Wales Council for Voluntary Action

  Wales Council for Voluntary Action is the voice of the voluntary sector in Wales. It represents the interests of, and campaigns for voluntary organisations, volunteers and communities in Wales. It represents the sector at a European, UK and national level, and together with a network of local voluntary councils and volunteer bureaux, provides a support structure to local voluntary organisations, volunteers and communities.

  WCVA manages a range of grant based schemes for voluntary organisations in Wales. These include umbrella schemes administered on behalf of Lottery distribution bodies, aimed at supporting local organisations and voluntary activity.

  We wish to comment on the impact of the National Lottery on charities and charitable giving, and on the distribution of funds as follows.

  1.  The principle of additionality, agreed when the National Lottery was introduced, has been eroded by the establishment of the New Opportunities Fund as a mechanism to take forward government policies. When the Millennium Commission ceases to operate, one third of Lottery Funds will be administered by NOF. Voluntary and charitable organisations are disadvantaged by this development in the following ways:

    —  the share of funds available to other distribution bodies to which voluntary organisations can apply is reducing as a consequence of the establishment of NOF;

    —  there are concerns that NOF programmes will tend to fund public services rather than voluntary organisations; and

    —  the impact of reduced public giving to charities as a result of the National Lottery will be exacerbated by any reduction in funds that charitable organisations can access from the distribution bodies.

  2.  There is a particular concern about the reduction in income to the National Lottery Charities Board, as the distribution body established specifically to fund voluntary and charitable bodies. The NLCB, and to a lesser extent Artslot and Sportlot, enable Lottery funds to benefit the greatest number of people and communities. The division of Lottery funds between the distributors should be reviewed in the light of the demand on each distributor, and the need to maximise local benefit to communities throughout Wales. Within each distributor the balance between a smaller number of major capital projects and a larger number of local projects should also be reviewed, with a view to increasing the share available to local community initiatives.

  3.  All distribution bodies should address the sustainability of services they fund on a time-limited basis. There are examples of small organisations that have undergone significant expansion on the strength of a three year Lottery grant, but are unable to obtain replacement funding when Lottery grants cease. It is important that funding levels take account of the ability of the organisation concerned to secure ongoing resources where these are required, and for distribution bodies to fund services for further periods where this is appropriate.

  4.  Distribution bodies can support the long-term sustainability of voluntary organisations by funding the acquisition of income generating capital assets. Enabling an organisation to purchase a building, for example, helps it reduce its own direct premises costs and generate income from renting space to other bodies, providing a long-term capital asset to underpin future growth and development.

  5.  Simplification of application and monitoring processes for voluntary sector applicants should be kept under review, and there is scope to introduce specific processes for voluntary organisations that are appropriate to the scale of funding involved.

  6.  WCVA would welcome the opportunity to work with the Lottery distributors to continue to ensure that their programmes are accessible to voluntary organisations and that they can support local community activity in a sustainable way.

October 2000

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