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Institute of Fundraising criticises lottery grant for school meals programme

Institute of Fundraising criticises lottery grant for school meals programme

The Institute of Fundraising has criticised the use of £45 million of Big Lottery Fund money for the Government’s new Schools Food Trust, announced last week by the Department for Education and Skills following TV chef Jamie Oliver’s campaign for healthy school meals.

Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said: “It’s a disgrace that the Government is proposing to use Lottery money to fund this new body. Anyone who buys a lottery ticket believes that their money is going to good causes, rather than setting up new Government-led bodies or initiatives. This move will undoubtedly see UK charities missing out on millions of vital income.”

The independence from government priorities of the Big Lottery Fund, a merger of the National Lottery Charities Board and the New Opportunities Fund, has been a concern of many voluntary sector organisations.

“We would urge Government to preserve the independence of the Big Lottery Fund”, said Mr Boswell. “One of the Fund’s core principles is to ensure that funding is additional to Government spending and this principle must be preserved. Lottery money should not be used on projects that should be funded from general taxation or that stem from Government policy making.”

He pointed out the importance of this approach in the context of an imminent announcement of a General Election. “All political parties should respect the independence of the Fund and this is too important an issue to become just another bargaining chip during the pre-election period.”

A Big Lottery Fund spokeswoman told The Guardian: “We don’t understand the Institute of Fundraising’s position on this. We’ve always been clear about our support for programmes encouraging healthier communities.”

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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