Lack of unrestricted funding and rising demand for services has caused a "perfect storm" for charities, the chief executive of Missing People told the Conservative Party Conference yesterday morning.
Speaking at the conference in Birmingham yesterday, Jo Youle, chief executive of Missing People, described the pressures on her charity, which works to reunite people with their friends and families often dealing with a range of mental health and exploitation issues, during a fringe event organised by the People’s Postcode Lottery.
“The amount of funding from central government has changed in its very nature," she said. "Funding does not exist in same way any more."
This is why Missing People has backed the People’s Postcode Lottery campaign to raise limits on the amounts society lotteries can raise, she said.
The government recently closed its consultation on raising the limits and has indicated that its preferred option is to raise the overall turnover limit to £100m, in line with the People’s Postcode Lottery’s suggestion. The government is recommending that the amount per draw is raised to £5m, but the People’s Postcode Lottery thinks it should be higher at around £10m.
Four out of five applications rejected
Clara Govier, managing director at the People’s Postcode Lottery, said that existing regulations mean operators end up with “complicated structures” and money is “spent on administration”.
People’s Postcode Lottery currently gives 32 per cent of the ticket price to charities, higher than the 20 per cent minimum, and Govier said this could increase if the regulations were relaxed.
She said the aim is to get to 40 per cent as the “ultimate target”, but did not commit to a deadline.
Govier also said that changing the rules would enable it to help more small charities.
“Four out five applications coming through to the small grants fund are being turned down because of lack of funds,” she said.
In 2017 the gap between the amount of money it had available for small charities and amount asked for in applications was £39.2m.
In response to a question about how much of its funding currently goes to smaller charities, Govier said it was 10 to 15 per cent, but said the People's Postcode Lottery “wanted to increase that”.
Speaking from the audience Karl Wilding, director of public policy and volunteering at NCVO, said the sector needed to be cautious because some people did not view gambling as an appropriate way to raise money for charities.
“That perception is out there that this is not a good way for charities to raise money,” he said. “We have to think very carefully.”
In response, Govier said that society lotteries were low risk for gambling addiction because there was not “instant gratification” and that her body had put in place limits on the amount individuals can spend.