Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management (ILAM)

  1.  ILAM is the professional body for managers of leisure provision in the UK. The institute is an independent, voluntary sector organisation with over 6,000 members. It's overall purpose is to promote the better management of leisure resources to provide better public access to a wide range of cultural and recreational experiences, in order to enhance the quality of life for individuals and communities. The Institute's charitable status underpins its dedication to the public good.

  2.  The Institute's evidence concentrates on the levels of funds for the good causes raised by the National Lottery and the distribution of these funds between the good causes, including whether the existing good causes should be reviewed, whether some should be dropped and/or whether new good causes should be introduced.

  3.  The Institute welcomed the introduction of a National Lottery and is pleased at its continuing success. It is particularly pleased that the range of good causes supported by the National Lottery includes investment in the arts, sport, play and our cultural and environmental heritage. This is helping to repair a long decline in investment in the recreational and cultural infrastructure which does so much to benefit society and the wider economy. It is pleasing to note that many of the projects supported from the Millennium Fund, such as the "Heart of the City" project in Sheffield, also provide new leisure spaces in the public realm or, in the case of the National Cycleway, greater access to leisure in the countryside.

  4.  ILAM fully supported the "new directions" given to National Lottery Distribution Bodies by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. ILAM argued from the beginning that all projects funded from the National Lottery should demonstrate benefit to children and young people, address social and economic depravation, and serve the needs of sustainable development.


  5.  Whilst the Institute also supported the creation of the New Opportunities Fund (NOF), it viewed with some concern the move away from investment in environmental regeneration. ILAM fears that the benefits to education and health of investing in recreation, culture and the environment are not fully appreciated. With the report of the Urban Task Force Towards Urban Renaissance, and the imminent publication of the Urban White Paper, ILAM believes that National Lottery funding should, in future, give more support to the urban environment. To quote the Urban Task Force Chairman, Lord Rogers "I am amazed how difficult it is for many to understand the simple equation that physical dereliction affects social well-being. Poverty and social exclusion are inextricably connected to the state of our cities" (Observer 20 February 2000).

  6.  In this regard, the New Opportunities Fund is particularly disappointing. Notwithstanding the declared intention to dedicate this funding stream to "Health, Education and the Environment", the Institute is aware of only one environmental scheme—"Green Spaces and Sustainable Communities". Totalling just £125 million, this is the smallest scheme the New Opportunities Fund operates and has just recently announced how this fund will be distributed. Despite supporting the umbrella schemes identified, particularly the increased support for children's play, the Institute is disappointed that a scheme supporting the plight of urban parks has not been identified as receiving funding. The Environment Sub-committee of the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee (ETRAC), stated in the report from their inquiry into Town and Country parks, "a substantial amount of the New Opportunity Funds should be spent on parks. The funds should go to small local parks as well as to major parks".

  7.  In ILAM's view the New Opportunities Fund, whose creation reduced the income streams of the other distribution bodies, should provide for greater investment in the public realm; the city spaces and town squares, public parks and gardens. All must be improved if people are to be encouraged to move back to the urban environment and reduce pressure on the countryside from sprawling suburban developments. The Institute would suggest a wholly new National Lottery Distribution Body called the Environment Fund which would take over the income stream formerly enjoyed by the Millennium Fund and remove environment from the portfolio of the New Opportunities Fund where it is clearly the Cinderella of the National Lottery.


  8.  The Heritage Lottery Fund is viewed by ILAM as having the widest scope of all the distribution bodies in terms of the cultural and recreational activity it is able to support. This is particularly true of the leisure opportunities to which access is free, thus helping to provide the greatest benefit to the least well-off. With the exception of the Charities Lottery Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund has tied up the least money in awards to prestigious national institutions. The Institute believes the Committee should keep these two points firmly in mind when considering any criticism of "elitism".

  9.  The biggest award made by the Heritage Lottery Fund is for major restoration works to the Kennet and Avon Canal; a project which enhances free public access, involves volunteers and promotes the local economy of a wide area. The Heritage Lottery Fund is investing in Nature Reserves, Seafront Piers, Public Parks, Museums and Townscapes. It has also made awards to enable the re-use of historic buildings such as churches and warehouses for new community uses, often in the poorest parts of the United Kingdom. The Heritage Lottery Fund is the prime agent whereby the National Lottery is able to turn the industrial infrastructure of the last century into the leisure capital of the post-industrial age, creating important new assets in the UK economy. Over 60 per cent of all foreign tourists give "heritage" as their prime reason for visiting the UK. Heritage Lottery Fund awards are also helping to promote sustainable development through the conservation of both built and natural physical resources, enhancing their value to local communities. ILAM believes this must continue.

  10.  ILAM is clear that it is not the role of the Heritage Lottery Fund to make up for funding deficiencies in the programmes of established national agencies. It is better to identify areas of heritage which lack such institutional support and have suffered as a result. ILAM has praised particularly the Heritage Lottery Fund's Urban Parks Programme. Previously, no other national body or Government department has exhibited any meaningful regard for the public parks and gardens of our towns and cities. Nor have they given support to the local authorities responsible for their care, as is the case for most other leisure provision. Despite their obvious decline, urban parks remain the most used recreation facility, and the most accessible to those with limited income.

  11.  The neglect in Britain of a heritage which has inspired successful cities the world over, is a sad reflection on the societal and civic values which once inspired their creation. However, the Institute would like to remind members of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee that it was only their intervention in the Heritage Lottery Fund's draft Strategic Plan, prompted by ILAM's verbal evidence to the Committee, that saved public parks as a distinct item in the Heritage Lottery Fund's Strategic Plan. This Plan is due to be revised shortly and the Institute would urge the Committee to again put down a marker that it expects to see the trustees of the Heritage Lottery Fund give at least as big an allocation in the next Strategic Plan as it was persuaded to do in the current Plan. This is £30 million per year.


  12.  The Institute would urge for the continued support of sport Lottery funding for the World Class Programme. This Olympics have shown that with proper funding British Athletes can perform and compete on the world stage. Not only did this result in the largest medal tally for decades but also in the number of personal bests that were achieved by British competitors. It would be naive to reduce the funding now as it takes time to realise the true benefits of this additional support and Sydney 2000 was only a start in the entire process. The Institute would therefore urge the Committee to recommend that the current levels of support are maintained.


  13.  The Institute feels that priority funding should be given in all capital bids (from £100k-£5 million) to refurbishment, repair and upgrading of existing arts buildings, rather than the development of new buildings. It is also important that funding is available to make these existing facilities and any new venues properly accessible to all aspects of the community.

  14.  Where feasible, ILAM believes, that the links between any improvements to the fabric of arts buildings and the overall financial health of the organisation should be carefully considered. For example, in any capital programme bids, there must be much better scrutiny of business plans and income projections than has been the case over the last five years. It is also important that any impact assessment of the use of Lottery monies to attract new audiences to the arts, is structured to take into account the fact that this cannot happen overnight, and that a more effective way of measuring the expansion of the audience base is developed.

  15.  To assist in this process strategic planning from the regions must also be sound and the Arts Councils must be full partners in developing infrastructure in the most needy parts of the country.


  16.  These Awards have been extremely successful in assisting the voluntary sector, local clubs and community groups in obtaining smaller amounts of funding for important projects. The Institute is pleased that these Awards reduce the amount of bureaucracy and enable communities to apply for greater assistance. The Institute has always had concerns over the bureaucracy that community groups had to go through in order to gain Lottery funding and has felt that this has been a deterrent for those that may not have access to the expertise needed to put successful applications together.

  17.  The Institute would also like to see the Regional Cultural Consortiums have a greater say in the allocation of Lottery funds at a regional level to ensure that local and regional priorities are identified and fulfilled.

October 2000

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