A new Wealden Lottery and Crowdfunding campaign is being planned to raise money for community groups and charities within the district.

The two initiatives are part of a review of how Wealden District Council provides support to the voluntary and community and social enterprise sector and may be brought in within the next two years.

The schemes would replace the council’s Community Grant programme – in place since 2005 – which sees small grants and capital funding awarded to local organisations to help promote a better quality of life for Wealden residents.

With increasing budget constraints and less government funding going into council coffers across the country, Wealden council officials say alternative operating models are now essential to put communities at the heart of funding and reduce the impact on council tax payers.

Wealden District Council’s community and public health portfolio holder Councillor Philip Lunn said, “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in terms of their ability to fundraise, which has affected their income streams and as a result has impacted on the support that can be provided to local activity.

“Councils are also under increasing budget pressures, which could inevitably impact on the funding available to support local voluntary and community organisations in the long term.

“We as a council are therefore exploring alternative solutions to support the sector. A community lottery raises money within the community for the community and therefore offers a valuable, additional income generation solution to the voluntary and community and social enterprise sector in Wealden, enabling them to provide valuable services locally.”

Several local authorities already run their own community lottery with tickets costing £1 each. Typically 60 per cent of all ticket sales go to good causes with the rest going to prize money and running costs.

With Crowdfund, donations pledged by members of the public go into a holding account and the money is only released when the whole amount has been achieved. If the project target is not achieved, refunds are given to donors.

Wealden District Council’s cabinet committee this week agreed to introduce alternative funding models such as Crowdfund to replace the current capital grant programme and, over a two year period, phase out the small grant programme and replace with a new community lottery.

Cabinet members also agreed to encourage councillors to act as champions within their local ward areas to help promote these new funding initiatives to community groups and businesses.