Lottery funding is currently distributed to museums through the Heritage Lottery Fund

MA calls for society lotteries to give more to good causes

Patrick Steel, 20.03.2015
Response to DCMS call for evidence on lotteries reform
The Museums Association (MA) has called for changes to lottery funding to require society lotteries, such as the Health Lottery and the People’s Postcode Lottery, to increase the amount of revenue they return to good causes.

In a response to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) call for evidence on lotteries reform, the MA notes that the National Lottery returns at least 28% of income to good causes and spends 4.5% on administration, compared with 18% of income returned by the People’s Postcode Lottery and 35% spent on administration.

The MA states: “We believe that the amounts that [society lottery managers] should be required to spend on good causes should be increased to at least match the amount raised by the National Lottery in order for them to fulfil their duty to the public and to lottery players.

“Consideration should also be given to how National Lottery funds can be shared more equitably across the country and deliver benefits to all sectors of society – particularly those who play the National Lottery. However, this should take place within the confines of the existing National Lottery funding infrastructure – not by introducing further competition into the lotteries landscape.”

Museums in the UK currently receive funding from two of the national lottery funding organisations: the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council or equivalent body in each devolved nation.

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David Anderson
MA Member
Director General, National Museum Wales - Amgueddfa Cymru
30.03.2015, 14:43
Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales is currently a beneficiary of funding from the People's Postcode Lottery (PPL), the Heritage Lottery Fund and a wide range of trusts and foundations. Each is a vital source of support for museums and other good causes, as public funding declines.

PPL in both its business model (playing by monthly subscription, and a close relationship between recipient charities and players) and its distribution of funds (relatively unrestricted revenue funding) in essence compliments other funding sources rather than rivals them. The flexibility of PPL funding also enables museums to sustain key activities that otherwise would be difficult or impossible to fund.

PPL is a relatively young organisation, and its funding for the Postcode Culture Trust (which supports museums and related charities and has its own independent directors to allocate awards based on criteria of public good) dates only from 2012.

In 2014 the proceeds supporting the Postcode Culture Trust increased to 25%. Future growth in funding for museums by the Postcode Culture Trust will depend in part on the size of PPL's revenues, prizes and draws, which (subject to decisions by DCMS following the recent consultation) are currently restricted.

If public funding continues to decline as predicted, many museums will only survive if they build public support, and demonstrate their ability to make a strong contribution to public learning, health and wellbeing, and community cohesion and identity. For those that do make such a commitment, the society lotteries could be key partners.