Memorandum by the New Opportunities Fund
1.1 This submission provides a brief introduction
to the New Opportunities Fund and our current grant programmes
in the environment field, with particular reference to the potential
for funding projects involving cemeteries.
1.2. The New Opportunities Fund is a Lottery
Distribution Body created by the National Lottery Act 1998. It
was established to make grants to health, education and environment
projects under initiatives specified by the Government. Many of
our grant programmes focus particularly on those who are most
disadvantaged in society.
1.3 In its White Paper, The People's Lottery
and in the National Lottery Act 1998, the Government made it clear
that it wished to refocus Lottery funding on the needs and concerns
of local communities, to increase access to funding and to ensure
more equitable distribution. The creation of the New Opportunities
Fund reflected these priorities.
1.4 Our initiatives are proposed by the
Government and subject to consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny.
They are then developed and delivered by the Fund. In this, the
Fund works closely with Government departments, devolved administrations,
regional bodies and other partners and providers to ensure that
we complement their work. Programmes have been developed in England,
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to meet each country's distinct
2. GREEN SPACES
2.1 We will distribute £125 million
across the UK by 2002 under our first environment initiative,
green spaces and sustainable communities. The framework and funding
for the initiative are set out in the policy directions issued
to the Fund by the Government.
2.2 The funding is divided between England,
Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales according to population and
weighted to reflect levels of deprivation. In Scotland, 75 per
cent of the funding available has been allocated to the formation
of the Scottish Land Fund. Across the UK, 75 per cent of the funding
has been allocated to green spaces schemes.
2.3 We will fund a wide range of projects
under the green spaces and sustainable communities programme,
including schemes which make better use of green space for communitiesfor
example, providing or improving green spaces for play and recreation,
including playing fields and parks. We also fund projects which
create or improve outside space for children's play, which will
help communities access, use and enjoy green space and the countryside,
and small sustainable community based projects that contribute
to sustainable development in social, economic and environmental
2.4 To ensure that this funding makes a
real difference, and that communities can genuinely be involved
in the projects we fund, we have decided to deliver the programme
by working in partnership with national Award Partners. The Award
Partners, who bring considerable experience of distributing funding
to environmental projects, will run umbrella schemes or delegated
grant programmes which deliver funding at a local level.
2.5 We launched the programme on January
2000 and requested Expressions of Interest from organisations
with appropriate skills and experience to become Award Partners.
In September 2000, following detailed assessment, the Fund publicly
announced details of the organisations invited to deliver grant
and umbrella schemes as Award Partners of the New Opportunities
2.6 The Fund is currently working with all
the Award Partners to finalise their contracts. This will be followed
by announcements in Spring 2001 giving details of the programmes
and how communities can apply. A full list of Award Partners and
their schemes is attached at Annex 1.
2.7 Award Partners have been appointed to
manage schemes which meet the priorities set for funding of green
spaces and sustainable communities. These priorities were determined
on the basis of the policy directions which we received from the
Government, the Fund's own broad consultation process, and further
discussions with Government Departments and devolved administrations.
Cemeteries, unlike playing fields and parts, were not specifically
mentioned in the policy directions set by Government and did not
emerge as a priority either in our consultation or in further
discussions with Departments. In England, funding for playing
fields and children's play emerged as key priorities.
2.8 The policy directions give a steer toward
co-operating with the Heritage Lottery Fund's Urban Parks Programme,
under which HLF has funded a number of projects involving cemeteries.
The Fund and HLF had developed joint guidance for applicants on
the interface between HLF funding and the green spaces and sustainable
2.9 Funding for cemeteries may potentially
be available under the programme where communities can demonstrate
to Award Partners that proposed projects fit the relevant funding
criteria. In particular, cemeteries may be eligible for support
as green space of environmental value to the community, under
the following Award Partner schemes:
The Countryside Agency's grant scheme,
which will offer communities funding to manage and use their own
multi-purpose "community greens".
The British Trust for Conservation
Volunteers' grant scheme, which will offer funding for communities
to use volunteers to create or improve green space in areas where
open space is limited due to social and economic disadvantage.
English Nature's grant scheme, which
will fund projects to enhance and expand the number of Local Nature
Award Partner schemes in Wales, Northern
Ireland and Scotland (other than the Scottish Land Fund), which
support the creation or improvement of green spaces, access to
green spaces and greening public places.
2.10 Each Award Partner will have fully
delegated authority to assess bids and make awards under the terms
of the scheme and it will be for them to determine which projects
2.11 In a number of the Award Partner schemes,
such as the Sport England scheme which focuses on playing fields,
there is unlikely to be any scope for applicants to successfully
bid for funds for projects involving cemeteries.
3.1 The Government has recently announced
proposals for a third round of New Opportunities Fund programmes,
which includes a new environment programme, Transforming Communities.
The Government has proposed that £150 million will support
three strands of activity: local environmental projects in urban
and rural communities, offshore wind power and biomass power generation,
and local recycling projects.
3.2 The Department for Culture Media and
Sport is currently consulting on the proposals (deadline 17 January
2001), before issuing policy directions to the Fund (expected
in Spring 2001). The Fund will then consult with key stakeholders
on how the programme might be most effectively delivered.
Green Spaces and Sustainable CommunitiesAward
In England the Fund has invited five organisations
to manage open grant schemes and two to manage umbrella schemes.
Barnardo's will distribute over £9
million for "Better Play" schemes.
BTCV will distribute more than £6
million to manage the "People's Play" schemes.
The Countryside Agency will distribute
almost £13 million to manage a "Grass Routes" programme.
English Nature will distribute more
than £4 million to support "Local Nature Reserves".
The Royal Society for Nature Conservation
will distribute almost £14 million for a "Social, Economic
and Environment Development (SEED)" projects.
Sport England will distribute more
than £31 million for "Playing Fields and Community Spaces".
Sustrans will distribute more than
£7 million for "Green Routes and Safe Routes".
The Scottish Land Fund, managed by Highland
and Islands Enterprise, will distribute £10.7 million to
assist rural communities throughout Scotland with sustainable
projects, involving the purchase, development and/or management
of the land they live and work on or near.
A partnership between Scottish National Heritage
and Forward Scotland will distribute over £3 million for
green spaces and sustainable communities. This funding will include
a grant scheme offering awards of up to £100,000 for community
based projects to improve access to green spaces, an umbrella
scheme to support sustainable communities projects and a 10-year
scheme for green space development, maintenance and improvement.
The Creating Common Ground partnership, led
by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, will manage a grant
scheme of almost £2 million to provide support for communities
to create and improve their social and physical environment through
greening public places, community safety projects and neighbourhood
renewal schemes. Creating Common Ground has also been invited
to manage an umbrella scheme which will support these activities,
targeting marginalised communities.
The Wales Council for Voluntary Action is leading
a partnership to manage a grant scheme (£7.5 million), Enfys:
Green Spaces and Sustainable Communities, offering grants across
a range of activities to meet the needs of disadvantaged communities.
All the schemes supported will need to demonstrate
that they have in place arrangements to safeguard community access
in the longer term, complement local strategies and avoid displacing
existing sources of funding. We expect applications to be developed
by partnerships and to lever in other sources of funding.