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Over 50 charities, academics, professionals and campaigners call for a more gender inclusive approach to Big Lottery Funding

In response to a Cabinet Office consultation on the policy direction of the Big Lottery Fund, over 50 charities, academics, professionals and campaigners formally submitted this Response.

The text is below:

Dear Cabinet Office

Subject: Consultation on new policy directions for the Big Lottery Fund: distribution of National Lottery money in England and UK-wide funding programmes

We, 50 signatories, note and support the Cabinet Office’s proposed new policy directions for the Big Lottery Fund. We especially support the key principle of “improving the life chances and opportunities of communities and the most vulnerable in society” and also a “focus on supporting and strengthening organisational infrastructure, capability and provision.”

We note that within the last Big Lottery Fund funding round, there was a specifically ring-fenced £48.5 million funding stream entitled the “Women and Girls Initiative” which funded 60 organisations, which we welcome. However, we note that there was no such parallel funding stream or initiative for charities supporting men and boys’ issues. We do recognise and welcome that the Big Lottery does provide some funding for such charities albeit this is not from a ring-fenced fund.

We further note that the Big Lottery Fund acknowledged1 in 2012 that:

“There needs to be much more discussion and debate around issues of gender from a male perspective. Currently, there is a resistance to talking about men as a target group for need, which filters down to project development and design, and has consequences on funding.”

 “The Big Lottery Fund should look at ways to encourage more applications from organisations targeting men through existing open programmes.”

We call upon the Cabinet Office to ensure that in the implementation of Big Lottery Fund’s new policy directions that a more gender inclusive approach is adopted. This is to ensure that equal recognition is given to the need to fund charities supporting men and boys as is given to the need to fund charities supporting women and girls. In practice for example, this means that if the Big Lottery Fund creates a ring-fenced funding stream similar to the “Women and Girls Initiative”, then it also creates a similar “Men and Boys Initiative” funding stream on the same basis.

This funding stream would support a growing number of charities that recognise the need to tackle of a range of issues affecting men and boys including:

  • The high male suicide rate
  • The challenges faced by boys and men at all stages of education including attainment
  • Men’s health, shorter life expectancy and workplace deaths
  • The challenges faced by the most marginalised men and boys in society (for instance, homeless men, boys in care and the high rate of male deaths in custody)
  • Male victims of violence, including sexual violence
  • The challenges faced by men as parents, particularly new fathers and separated fathers
  • Male victims and survivors of sexual abuse, rape, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based crime, stalking and slavery
  • The negative portrayal of men, boys and fathers

Thank you for your consideration.

1 Invisible Men: engaging more men in social projects (The Young Foundation), commissioned by the Big Lottery Fund in 2012


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