Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, is to meet with senior National Lottery officials next week, following a report which linked religious organisations in receipt of Lottery funding, to homophobia.
Mr Tatchell was invited by Lottery officials to discuss the issue further, following a backlash as last week, a Guardian report revealed that several Christian, Muslim and Jewish organisations linked to online homophobia had received grants from the fund.
The National Lottery responded to the accusations, in a statement which sets out that some funding is given out to religious groups as they have access to “hardest to reach” members of the community, and that sometimes background checks are lighter, in order to make the funding more “accessible”.
In a letter to Lottery officials, Mr Tatchell wrote: “My concerns are very widely shared across the LGBT communities and by our straight allies: that the Lottery should not fund any organisation that does not fully comply with equal opportunities and non-discrimination – or which encourages prejudice of any sort.
“We assume that the Lottery does not fund racist organisations, even if their bid is for benign activities like literacy classes. Our expectation is that the same criterion should apply to homophobic organisations.”
Mr Tatchell previously tweeted that the organisation had not addressed the “concerns raised”, in its response to the report.
— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) May 14, 2013
The report found that one church has funds of almost £29 million, and receives more than £7 million of voluntary income per year, yet is in receipt of Big Lottery Fund funding for community projects.
The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for distributing 40% of the lottery’s good cause funds. Over a fifteen year period, lottery distributors have awarded at least 139 grants to evangelical, Pentecostal and conservative Christian groups, worth over £3.1 million.