Leeds hospices slam Health Lottery

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Two hospices are calling on people in Leeds to turn their backs on the new Health Lottery, warning it could deprive local patients of care.

St Gemma’s Hospice in Moortown and Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley rely on the £300,000 generated each year by their own fundraising lottery. But both fear this income could be seriously reduced if people choose to play the Health Lottery instead.

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Sharon Link, area fundraising manager for Sue Ryder Wheatfields, said: “Playing the Health Lottery might sound like a good idea for those who wish to support good causes, but the fact is it will only donate 20p to charity for every £1 spent on tickets.

“Also, because it’s a national initiative, players will never be sure the Health Lottery monies are being used locally.”

For every £1 received by the Leeds Hospices Lottery, nearly 50p goes towards hospice care locally.

The campaign is being backed by Help the Hospices, the national charity for hospice care.

Its chief executive, David Praill, said, collectively, hospices have to raise more than £500m every year to be able to provide their care free of charge.

He said: “In these already challenging times, we are very concerned that this new lottery could have a serious impact on the funds generated by the hospice lotteries that take place every week.”

A spokesperson for the Health Lottery said: “We are confident our new lottery scheme will not impact adversely on local hospice lotteries and the important role that they provide in fundraising. We don’t believe people will abandon hospice lotteries to play our game instead.”

The Health Lottery will donate 20.34p per £1 ticket to charity, compared with 28p for every National Lottery ticket.

The charitable donation has been described as a “pretty disgraceful development” by a charity chief, Sir Stephen Bubb, of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations.

Join the St Gemma’s & Wheatfields Lottery online at www.hospicelottery.co.uk or ring 0113 278 1500.

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