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Council's lottery provides 'lifeline' for Harrogate charities during pandemic

Harrogate Borough Council's local lottery has been described as a “lifeline” for charities during the pandemic.

Yorkshire’s only council-run lottery has been described as a "lifeline" for charities during the pandemic after thousands of pounds was raised for good causes in Harrogate. Harrogate Borough Council launched the Local Lotto in 2018 despite some concerns over encouraging gambling and it has since raised more than £161,000 through the sale of £1 tickets with funds from each going to the buyer’s choice of charity. This includes £56,000 raised over the past year when many charities have struggled to survive due to donations drying up during Covid. Ann Duncan, partnership and engagement manager at the council, told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday that the lottery had been a “lifeline” during this time. She said:

“The supporters of the Local Lotto have remained strong and this has been really important for those good causes because traditional fundraising methods have been limited. “The Local Lotto provides unrestricted funding so there are no stipulations as to what the charities can spend the money on. “They can spend it on their electricity or insurance, it’s up to them, so for some of the good causes it has been a real lifeline when funds have been quite desperate over the last 18 months.”
The council takes no income from the £1 ticket sales with 60p from each going to the buyer’s choice of charity, 20p into the prize fund, 17p to an external lottery manager and 3p to cover VAT. Funds raised are paid to signed-up charities selling tickets and around £19,400 has been handed out in winnings over the past year. Some buyers have won up to £2,000, although the top prize of £25,000 has yet to be claimed. The Local Lotto is also linked to the council’s Local Fund – a pot of cash which charities can apply for grants from. Councillor Stanley Lumley, who represents the Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale Moors ward, described the council’s decision to launch the lottery as “controversial” but said it had proved to be a “great success”. He said:
“We took a gamble, if you’d pardon the pun, three years ago when we introduced this. It was controversial and people were sceptical whether it would work. “It clearly has worked and worked extremely well. “The beauty of this lottery is that a person buying the ticket decides where they want a portion of the money to go. “My ticket money goes to something close to my heart – Nidderdale Plus at Pateley Bridge which is a really good community hub that needs support.”
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter Read more local stories from Your Harrogate here.

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