Richard Desmond (owner of the Daily Express) has launched his “Health Lottery” to compete with the National Lottery. The news on my way to work today was all over it and sounding very positive, and on the face of it a very nice thing to do – who wouldn’t want to take part in a lottery scheme that provides donations to charity? Well anyone that already plays the National Lottery or any of the charity organised lotteries such as Hospice Lotteries or Unity Lottery for a start which donate more than the Health Lottery.
The Health Lottery gives 20p in the pound to health charities, whilst the National Lottery gives 28p all types of charity. Our charity has achieved Big Lottery funding to expand our Helpline services and training opportunities throughout England, helping thousands of people over the next four years.
The Big Lottery Fund has an extremely rigorous process for applying for funds, and it is very competitive meaning only the best cases are supported. I wonder if a competitor will be able to apply the same level of accountability and provide the same level of trust…
If a donor wants to guarantee how their lottery spending is used thay can take part in much more equitable schemes run by the charities themselves – for instance we have our own Unity Lottery in which 50% of proceeds go straight to Ostomy Lifestyle.
In its name the comparison with the much publicised healthcare ‘postcode lottery’ is just too obvious, and I feel trying to undermine existing initiatives will only damage charity income across the sector, and sounds more like a PR stunt than anything else.