Dawn Austwick, chief exec of the BIG Lottery has been very cautious in the words she has chosen too describe progress towards a joint Lottery and EU match-funding deal. If successful the proposal will enable around £500m-worth of Lottery funds flowing through the third sector to be matched with EU funds flowing through the Local Enterprise Partnerships.
But the sector should “not get too excited”, she has said, describing negotiations to date as “tortuous”, with “a long way” still to go.
Nontheless there will be many who regard this as good news.
But where does this leave Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP?
GBSLEP made a pitch to government to become an “integrated territorial investment” area, which would have enabled it to make its own decisions regarding match-funding arrangements. But this was turned down.
Colleagues who understand the implications of this a darned sight better than I do have explained to me that while all other LEPs will be covered by the deal Austwick has announced today — assuming it comes to fruition, of course — GBSLEP won’t be.
The sector needs to know with some urgency what GBSLEP proposes to do.
At stake are vast sums of money earmarked for social inclusion and cohesion measures — key areas of activity and service delivery for third sector and social enterprise organisations.
Austwick announced this news today at NCVO’s annual conference and you can read the story in full in Third Sector magazine.