Fund-raising lottery a damp squib

A DAILY lottery designed to raise thousands of pounds towards the restoration of one of Suffolk's most historic buildings has turned into a damp squib.

A DAILY lottery designed to raise thousands of pounds towards the restoration of one of Suffolk's most historic buildings has turned into a damp squib.

An appeal by Woodbridge Town Council for residents to join the Great Weather Lottery generated a response of just three people willing to pay 20p a day with the opportunity of winning prizes worth up to thousands of pounds.

The disappointing response has left the town council with a major headache – it must devise ways of raising at least £5,000 a year towards paying off a loan for the restoration of the Shire Hall – or the local council tax precept will have to rise.

The lottery was launched a few weeks before Christmas and the town council decided to do a trial run in the Kyson ward and establish what interest there was in the scheme. Councillors handed out hundreds of leaflets to householders.


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The lottery involved matching numbers with temperatures in six destinations around the world in the correct sequence.

Chris Walker, town council clerk, said: ''It is very disappointing with just three people signing up out of between 500 and 600. We are not going to roll it out anywhere else but if people wish to sign up then they can contact me but we will not be targeting any further homes with the leaflets.

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''I do not know why there was such a poor response. Perhaps people did not like the direct debit side to it.''

The cost of restoring the home of the town council was in the region of £250,000. The council took £100,000 from its reserves and borrowed a £150,000 loan over 10 years from the Public Works Loan Board. The council has to pay almost £18,900 a year for the loan and it is budgeting to raise £5,000 a year through fundraising.

Mrs Walker said: ''If the £5,000 is raised we will not have to put the precept up and we can raise the rest of the loan through our budget. We would only put the precept up as a last resort.''

The main fundraising project has been the laying of bricks in a Seckford Square in front of the Shire Hall. Donors have included the Rotary Club of Woodbridge who paid £500 for a corporate brick. The appeal has raised a £13,000 profit and more businesses will be encouraged to take part.

Woodbridge Community Council has raised more than £19,900 towards the restoration including the proceeds of the latest event, a Spring Concert.

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