Labour’s shadow minister for civil society Steve Reed has criticised the Big Lottery Fund’s new £15m digital fund for not focusing on small charities.
This week the Big Lottery Fund announced it would open two funding strands on 22 October, offering grants of up to £500,000.
The first strand is aimed at charities with and income of at least £500,000, while the second is open to charities of all sizes that have been established since 2000 and “are already highly digital”.
Reed criticised the first funding strand for excluding “over four in five UK charities who have an income below £500,000”.
He said: “Smaller charities are best placed to pilot new technologies, So I am very troubled by this announcement and I urge the Big Lottery Fund to look urgently at how they can support smaller charities to use digital technology to become more effective.”
On Twitter, the Small Charities Coalition also expressed disappointment, saying: “Strand 1 excludes 80% of UK charities, Strand 2 requires charities to already be 'highly digital'. This is not the case for lots of #smallbutvital charities.”
Thanks for replying. We're still a little confused. Strand 1 excludes 80% of UK charities, Strand 2 requires charities to already be 'highly digital'. This is not the case for lots of #smallbutvital charities. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/szH3XXz4mz— Small Charities Coalition (@sccoalition) 9 October 2018
Plans to support small charities next year
A spokesperson for the Big Lottery Fund said it plans to allocate just over a third of the £15m fund to organisations with incomes of more than £500,000.
They said: "The digital fund is a two-year £15m fund for both small and larger charities.
"We have specific plans to support small charities within this fund - further details of which will be available in the New Year.
"We work with small charities every day, and understand and value the work they do.
"Through National Lottery Awards for All we provide around £90m of funding every year, the majority of which goes to small grassroots organisations, including to support digital activities.
"This represents 90 per cent of the 10,000 grants we give out each year."