Lottery funds drowning in cash

SHOW us the money.That was the cry today from campaigners battling to save Broomhill swimming pool after it was revealed that a staggering £2.7billion of National Lottery money is sitting waiting to be paid out to good causes.

SHOW us the money.

That was the cry today from campaigners battling to save Broomhill swimming pool after it was revealed that a staggering £2.7billion of National Lottery money is sitting waiting to be paid out to good causes.

The National Audit Office today revealed the amount of money which is in a Government-managed fund ready to be allocated in the form of grants by the 15 Lottery distribution bodies.

And the Heritage Lottery Fund, to which Ipswich Borough Council is due to apply to up to £3m to save the outdoor pool, has more than £940m sitting around.

But even so, council officers warned last week that despite expending cash and council time the bid to save the pool will fail.

John Mowles, lead councillor for leisure at Ipswich Borough Council, was not impressed with the revelations. He said: "We have heard stories like this before.

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A lot of applications are made for a lot of money, but if the money is as much as that then it is heartening for our bid.

"I can only say that if there is money there it makes the hopes greater than before. We will put in our bid and see what happens."

Ipswich council's executive committee was due to discuss this week whether to go ahead with a full application for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

It would cost £67,000 to prepare a bid and officers warned that the chances of success look slim. Even if the application succeeded the HLF would be unlikely to fund more than 75 per cent of the cost of restoring the pool with a more likely figure of 55 to 66pc.

This would leave the council and the Friends of Broomhill Pool to find at least £1 million before any work could start.

The HLF has told the council there is little precedent for it to fund leisure facilities and it was not prepared to give any indication of whether an application for the pool was likely to be successful. The cost of making the application is high because detailed reports from experts would have to be compiled.

A spokeswoman for the Heritage Lottery Fund said: "The money in the fund has been committed and in fact we have over-committed ourselves by a further £75 million.

"We have also led the way among distributors for speeding-up payments."

Do you think Broomhill should get the money? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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