A Lotto time wasted claims whistleblower
FURTHER doubt has been cast over the progress being made with the Toothill £1million Big Lottery fund as money has begun to flow four years after the jackpot was awarded.
A whistleblower who used to be heavily involved with the committee has claimed recent signs of progress are unfounded, as the money which will now be given out was released to the Toothill Big Local committee more than a year ago.
Rounds of training classes have been held at the Toothill Community Centre since September 24 to advise residents how to make applications for grants of up to £500 each from the first Community Chest pot of £3,750. The final training session was on October 10 between 6.30pm and 8.30pm.
A second round of funding will go live on January 1, 2014, with an extra £15,000 being released.
But the whistleblower, who does not wish to be named, says this money is part of the £20,000 which was released to the committee almost two years ago, and progress is still stunted.
“A million pounds was dumped on Toothill and there was no structure,” the whistleblower said. “It is still a bit of a mess. The money available now was released in January 2011, so it is a year-and-a-half old.
“The group could not think of any ways to use the money, and the £1m will not be released until there are some safeguards in place.”
A lack of structure within the committee has also been blamed for the project being put on hold.
“Last year a few of us got the local trust to run the project nationally and to come and sort out Toothill because there had been so much aggravation,” added the whistleblower.
“We are now in the fourth year and nothing has happened because people have been fighting over the money and there has not been proper governance put in place.
“I am one of a lot of people to pass through the Big Local group and give up on it. Things are being done in private and they do not want to involve the community. There were supposed to be applications for people to join the group but no one came forward.
“We have had four chairs in three years, and nothing has happened.”
A current member of the committee has appealed to an outside organisation, which does not yet wish to be named, to help with the distribution of funds.
A director at the organisation said: “We have been approached by a person on the committee last week to ask if we can help out with delivery. We haven’t formulated our own thinking about it yet, and whatever help we can give we need to think about in our broader organisation.”
But Kareen Boyd, chairwoman of the Toothill Big Local, insists progress is being made and all the money will be released through staggered community chests.
“The training classes went extremely well and we had several people come along to understand about the community chest process,” she said. “We are putting together packs for people to apply which will be sent out to houses this week.
“The closing date for bids for this quarter will be November 28, and applicants will be notified if they were successful by December 28.
“The current fund is £15,000 a year for the community chests, which have been subdivided into quarterly amounts of £3,750. The next two rounds will open on January 1 and April 1, 2014.”