Lottery Reform

Following the appointment of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government in 2010 the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced their intention to redistribute National Lottery Funding.  Currently Sport receives 16.6% of lottery funding [1].  DCMS wish to return the Lottery to its original funding position with 60% of the Distribution Fund divided equally between sport, heritage and the arts.  This will be achieved through a two stage approach which sees an initial rise of funding to 18% each for sport, heritage and the arts in April 2011, followed by an increase to 20% each in April 2012.  The Big Lottery Fund will simultaneously fall first of all to 46% of the total funds, and then to 40%.  Responsibility for the Big Lottery Fund will sit with the Cabinet Office as the lead department on Big Society as of spring 2011.  Although there will be less in the Big Lottery Fund pot, the Government wish to protect funding to the voluntary and community sector by focusing the Big Lottery Fund’s funding in this area. The redistribution of Lottery Funding has the potential to be hugely beneficial to the voluntary sports sector by providing numerous funding opportunities.  However, it is important for the sports sector that such a reform does not occur in parallel with a cut in exchequer funding to sport and that significant funding is available to the third sector in the years following the 2012 Olympics. 

What are the implications?

  • In theory, there should be more opportunities for the voluntary sector to receive Lottery funding, benefiting from both the Big Lottery Fund and some additional funds for voluntary organisations that work in sport, heritage or the arts
  • While the voluntary and community sector in sport, heritage and the arts may have more funding available to them through the Lottery, funding for these areas from central Government is likely to decrease
  • It is estimated that by 2012 this will create a further £50 million for sport each year which will benefit sports clubs
  • Under this reform the Big Lottery Fund will have less money available. Even though the voluntary and community sector is set to receive 100% of this money, in real terms it is possible that this would result in a cut in funding for the voluntary and community sector 
  • Following the 2012 Olympics, the percentage of Lottery money that until then went to fund the Games will be available for distributing amongst good causes.  There may also be funds available from the sale of parts of the Olympic site after the Games
  • It is possible that with Big Lottery Funding focuses solely on the voluntary and community sector, it may be difficult for voluntary projects funded through the public sector to access this money 
  • If National Governing Bodies of Sport (regulatory organisations for individual sports) receive more money from the Lottery via Sport England – the non-departmental body responsible for community sport - it will enable them to provide more support to community sports clubs in numerous ways including training and the provision of insurance.  This will be most useful if the funding is not ring-fenced at all
  • The processes of applying for, and reporting on, the effects of Big Lottery Grants in order to demonstrate the organisation/events worth as a good cause may be reviewed.  There is a danger that the re-distribution of funding may result in lengthier and more complex application and reporting processes.  In order to reduce bureaucratic burdens on volunteers, the shorter and simpler this process can be the better   

Moving forward

Following the Lottery Shares Order which was passed in November 2010 based on the findings of a Consultation on the National Lottery Shares the decisions around lottery reform are essentially finalised. Changes in funding and the move of the responsibility for the Big Lottery Fund from DCMS to the Cabinet Office in spring 2011 may have an impact on the security and sustainability of existing voluntary and community projects, for example by leaving them vulnerable to being cancelled or scaled back.

  • Is your organisation reliant on lottery funding or planning to apply for lottery funding?
  • Does your organisation work in sports, heritage or the arts?  What could you apply to the Lottery Fund for?
  • What grants could you apply for through the Big Lottery Fund?
  • Are there any European grants you could apply for?
  • Is there anything your organisation could be involved with relating to the Olympics that might qualify for funding? 

Want to know more?

The Apportionment of Money in the National Lottery Distribution Fund Order 2010

Link:The Apportionment of Money in the National Lottery Distribution Fund Order 2010

Published by: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Date:June 2010

Format:Online document

What is it? An impact assessment of the decision to re-distribute Lottery funding which considers the different options for distributing the funds and how these correlate with policy objectives along with a consideration of what the intended effects would be.

How useful is this? As a government document this is quite a dry read with a number of sections that are not relevant to the wider public.  That said, it does also detail the considerations for how to re-distribute Lottery money, and the rationale behind these in a way which is easy to understand and digest once you have found them.  The initial summary section considering intervention and options and the evidence base section are the most useful.   

Funding Central

Link:Funding Central

Published by: NCVO


What is it? A free website for voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises.  It provides access to thousands of funding and finance opportunities as well as tools and resources to help organisations with their income needs, from applying for funding to developing sustainable income strategies.

How useful is this? A useful website with a range of resources.  It has a database of over 4000 grants, contracts and loans which you can search through in a guided way so that the most suitable and appropriate funds for your organisation and needs are shown to you.  The site also provides support for funders, a facility to find partner organisations and relevant news, training events, funding updates and details on funding deadlines.


[1] The Apportionment of Money in the National Lottery DistributionFund Order 2010-Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2010 [back]

Last updated at 09:51 Tue 29/Mar/11.


How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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