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U-turn on UK lottery proceeds distributor welcomed by critic

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A LEADING critic of the appointment of a UK organisation to distribute lottery proceeds has welcomed a U-turn by Jersey’s government.

Mike Grahamn .Picture:DAVID FERGUSON. (25759504)

The Economic Development Department announced on Friday that it was withdrawing plans for funds raised by the Channel Islands Lottery to be distributed by GrantScape.

The original announcement from EDD in August had sparked criticism from the charity sector, including Mike Graham, general manager of The Bosdet Foundation, the Jersey-based foundation that distributes funds to local charities and non-profit organisations.

Mr Graham said he had met Assistant Economic Development Minister Steve Pallett and had been encouraged by the government’s response.

‘There was a willingness to listen and the concerns raised were taken on board – it was refreshing,’ he said.

It is now envisaged that a local body can be set up to handle the distribution of lottery monies, which totalled £2.1 million last year. The new system could be in place by March 2020, with the Association of Jersey Charities retaining responsibility until that point.

‘I think it will be a case of one step back and two forward,’ added Mr Graham. ‘We should end up with a better solution in which everyone takes responsibility. It’s not just for the government.

‘I’m very confident that a new body will be cheaper to run, as well as achieving strong buy-in from the community.’

The intention is that 40% of the lottery funds will go to charities and voluntary groups, with the remaining 60% split equally between arts and culture, heritage, and sport and active living.

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Senator Pallett said there would need to be strong governance in place with the new body.

‘Whoever is responsible, we’re not going to cut corners, and I think there’s an acceptance of that,’ he said. ‘There’s been a commitment locally from people who are prepared to work hard on this and find a solution that works for Jersey.’

Jersey Sport chairman Phil Austin expressed concern earlier this week that the delay would have a negative effect on sports organisations who needed to access funding immediately, but Mr Graham said he did not think that need be the outcome.

‘I would hope the AJC would be able to work to the proposed split in the interim and that there wouldn’t be a delay,’ he said.

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