MP says lottery funding group must back up words with cash for areas like Ashfield

I have spoken many times in the past about the unfairness of lottery funding going to big projects in big cities, while former coalfield areas like Ashfield get relatively little cash, writes Gloria De Piero, MP for Ashfield.

With that in mind, I had an interesting meeting earlier this month with representatives of the Big Lottery Fund (BLF).

Gloria De Piero met with Marc Lupson and James Harcourt-Smith from the Big Lottery Fund

Gloria De Piero met with Marc Lupson and James Harcourt-Smith from the Big Lottery Fund

BLF is aiming for a more conversational approach to reaching groups, which will allow its staff to meet face to face with members of the community.

It wants to make more people aware that they could access funding for their groups or projects or events, and that the process of applying for that cash has been greatly simplified.

Over the past five years, BLF has awarded around £3.6 million to 92 projects in the Ashfield constituency.

In addition, 18 projects have been funded which are not based in Ashfield, but which carry out work in the area.

The vast majority of local projects that have received funding asked for under £10,000 and the BLF team are keen to see more groups applying for larger grants that will make more of a difference.

Funding surgeries are being held to enable groups speak to the BLF team about what funding is available to them and help them apply for it.

I applaud the BLF for making these changes, but the test of whether it is doing enough to engage with the Ashfield community will be demonstrated by how much money it awards to the constituency going forward.

It is a step in the right direction, but a lot more needs to be done by other lottery funding distributary bodies before the balance is truly corrected.

If your child is moving to secondary school next September, you only have until October 31 to apply for their place.

Nottinghamshire County Council is advising parents to use all four preferences and to make sure that at least one of your preferences is for a school where you will have high priority in its oversubscription criteria.

For more information visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/admissions or call 0300 5008080.