The Big Lottery Fund (BLF) has unveiled its new funding strategy for the next six years.
Following on from the Big Thinking consultation in the Autumn of 2008, which asked stakeholders and the general public how they thought the Big Lottery budget should be spent, the BLF has announced its new funding strategy. The strategy includes an extra £45 million to help charities hard-hit by the recession and a pledge to give at least 80% of its money to voluntary and community organisations.
The £45 million recession package will be distributed this financial year and will include cash injections for existing funding programmes such as the Reaching Communities scheme, Basis and Awards for All.
In addition to extra money being made available, the BLF have also outlined new priorities and directions for their grant-making, with projects that reduce isolation and promote community cohesion and front-line services, now at the very top of their agenda.
Voluntary sector leaders have given the new funding strategy a mixed reception. Ralph Michell, head of policy at Acevo, welcomed the changes and the extra money claiming, “The sector is going through a difficult time and needs all the help it can get”. Navca’s Kevin Curley and NCVO’s Stuart Etherington, however, were less impressed and urged the BLF to increase its grant-making to voluntary organisations to 100%, citing the current economic climate, which has led to the slashing of available local authority grants and the creation of a difficult environment in which to fundraise, as a key motivation for such action.
Source: Big Lottery Fund