CASH-STRAPPED West Somerset charities and community groups could be thrown a funding lifeline by a local lottery officially launched by West Somerset and Taunton Deane councils on Tuesday.
The £1 tickets for the new online Somerset West lottery will go on sale on June 13 and the first weekly draw for a £25,000 jackpot and smaller prizes is on July 29.
It has been estimated that, if only 2.5 of the local population has a weekly flutter on the lottery, in five years’ time it would generate a gross return of nearly £40,000 a year.
And over half would go to local organisations to help what has been called “a constant struggle” to find funds.
Even if only 150 players a week participate in the first year it would raise nearly £8,000, but lottery bosses are hoping for a better return than that.
Over 100 representatives of voluntary organisations and good causes at the launch ceremony in Williton were told that the chances of winning the top prize would be one in a million.
That was 45 times more likely than scooping the national lottery jackpot, and all players would have an estimated 50-1 chance of winning something.
From every £1 ticket sold, 60p will go to good causes, compared with the national lottery’s 28 per cent, and 20 per cent to the prize fund.
“We have four to six weeks to build up the numbers before the first draw,” Angela Summers, housing and community project leader, and one of the scheme’s organisers, said.
“With less and less funding coming from central government the voluntary section is struggling and in many cases regular income from the new lottery could help keep these valuable services going.”
And Cllr Bruce Heywood, West Somerset Council chairman, added: “This is an excellent way that we can all support good causes that do so much for West Somerset.”