Council to start Northampton Lottery to raise funds for voluntary sector

Northampton will start its own lottery draw
Northampton will start its own lottery draw

A Northampton lottery is to be set up to raise money for the town’s good causes, after being given approval by the borough council’s cabinet.

The council will hold its own ‘local authority lottery’ to raise funds which can help support the voluntary and community sector amidst the continuing reduction of funding to local councils from central government.

Cabinet papers revealed that a minimum of 60 per cent of the Northampton Lottery proceeds would go to good causes, while 20 per cent would go to external lottery managers Gatherwell Ltd, with the remainder on prizes.

Gatherwell was responsible for setting up the pilot lottery project by Aylesbury Vale District Council in 2015. Since it started operating it has been raising more than £45,000 per year.

Councillor Brandon Eldred, portfolio holder for finance, told the rest of the cabinet: “It’s just about bringing a Northampton Lottery to town and give some of the voluntary groups extra funding. It’s tight out there for everyone, and we think this is something we can give back.”

Documents show that entrants have a one in million chance of winning the prize jackpot, which would be £25,000 or 10 per cent of the gross ticket sales, whichever is greater.

Entrants would have a 1/50 chance of winning any prize, compared to 1/54 for the National Lottery.

It is anticipated that £1,000 will be needed each year for licensing and administration costs, which may be recouped from lottery proceeds.

Gatherwell Ltd would conduct all day-to-day operations with the council retaining ‘control, oversight and governance’ of the scheme. The authority admits there is a ‘limited level of risk relating to low take-up’, but it believed this could be offset by ‘effective marketing’.

The report seen by cabinet members states: “There are a number of community groups and charities that run lotteries or similar fundraising schemes within the borough, but there are no other Northampton-wide lotteries currently being delivered.

“The unique selling point of a Northampton Lottery is that players can be assured that proceeds will stay within Northampton, as will the majority of prizes.

Councillor Eldred added: “It could raise a lot of money. If we only sell 4,000 tickets a week that could bring in £130k a year.”

Cabinet agreed to delegate the launch of the lottery, which would likely require £3,000 in setup costs, to Councillor Eldred.

An initial list of recipients from the voluntary and community sector will also be drawn up by Councillor Eldred, as well as cabinet member for community engagement Councillor Anna King, chief finance officer Stuart McGregor and the council’s head of customers and communities Julie Seddon.