Inner cities win the Lottery

July 21, 1995

Huw Richards and David Charter report on sport in HE and Fe after John Major's announcement of a national review.

The Sports Council is to offer greater amounts of National Lottery funds to inner city schools and colleges to reverse worringly low levels of applications for sports projects.

The council, which distributes lottery money for the Government, said it was adopting a flexible approach to the maximum 65 per cent of project funds available. Its monthly panel to distribute funds heard a number of inner city bids on Monday although details will not be released until the council's next full meeting in August.

Spokeswoman Mary Fitzhen- ry said: "We will fund up to 65 per cent of a project although the panel has been very concerned about the low level of applications from inner city projects so they will show a level of flexibility."

The council cannot say how many colleges have applied for funds, which are only available if the project benefits the community, but so far just three further education colleges have received money out of the 33 awards to educational institutions, with schools containing sixth forms faring best. The big lottery winner among this select group so far is Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge, with Pounds 7,000 awarded to help develop a new sports hall, four indoor and six outdoor tennis courts and an indoor cricket practice area. The total cost of the project is Pounds 2,022,000.

Truro College has received Pounds 592,000 towards its sports hall for community and college use, costing Pounds 1,065,000. And Thomas Rotherham College in Rotherham has been given Pounds 332,335 towards the Pounds 556,700 cost of a sports hall and fitness studio.

The attraction of lottery funds is a factor in discussions between Leicester University and neighbouring Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College for a Pounds 3 million shared sports complex - but the requirement for community involvement may mean lottery money is not sought.

For most colleges there remain two routes to sports money and extra facilities - bidding and partnership. Colleges must know where and when to apply for funds and can develop their community contacts by joint projects with other bodies. Lewisham College, for example, is working closely with Millwall Football Club to offer students the workplace environment needed for success in National Vocational Qualifications.

* The Scottish Office Education Department is to carry out a study of sports facilities in further education colleges, and will encourage the colleges to publish details and report their progress in providing sporting opportunities in their annual development plans. The SOED is talking to the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals about a similar initiative among higher education institutions.

The Scottish Sports Council is also investigating a potential expansion of sports scholarships at several universities, such as Edinburgh and Stirling. Worries about financial and course planning and red tape left only 7 per cent of universities favouring vouchers.

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