THE countdown is underway for the first numbers to be drawn in the Tunbridge Wells Lotto that will raise thousands of pounds each Saturday for local charities.

The opening draw for the £25,000 jackpot that the public can win, will take place on July 8. Tickets will go on sale June 14.

Last week saw dozens of people from the charity sector gather  at the town hall to celebrate the new online initiative.

The idea for a local lotto was announced by the council in October as cuts to community grants meant more inventive ways of channelling money to good causes needed to be found.

Charities are now being urged to sign up for the online lottery by setting up their own page on the website; 60p in every £1 will be going to local good causes.

Among the first to join last week was John Martin, the director of Trinity Theatre, who told the audience: “Most of us in this room are facing a future where funding is becoming tighter and we need to look for innovative ways to raise money.”

“The effort you put in will determine what you get out”

He said setting up the theatre’s profile on the site was ‘incredibly easy’ and encouraged others to follow their example.

Giving an overview of the concept was Ben Spear of Gatherwell, the company contracted by the council to run the scheme.

Mr Spear said the lottery would allow individual players to select the good cause of their choice when buying a ticket.

He said it was up to the organisations themselves to make the most of the opportunity.

“The effort you put in will determine what you get out,” he told those at the Town Hall.

Those causes that sign up are given their own page on the website outlining what they are all about. They have the option of publicly displaying funding targets – similar to those found on website such as Justgiving – so that donors have a target to aim for.

The model is similar to that used by the Tonbridge and Malling, who launched their Hive Lotto in September.

Estimates for their first full year of operation suggest they will raise around £7,500 for good causes in the area.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council believe their own lotto will raise between just under £9,000 and £27,600 in the first year – figures based on a range of factors regarding the number of players and the number of tickets they buy.

Those gathered appeared impressed by the offer, with many filling out forms to sign up straight away.

Kate Hasted of Culverden Park-based charity Headway West Kent, which supports those with brain injuries, said: “We will definitely be signing up as funding is getting much harder and this will help along with raise awareness of what we do.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Fiona Watkins of young carer’s charity IMAGO on Monson Road. She believes the lotto means charities can ‘keep up with modern trends’ and will help incentivise donating in a ‘quick and easy’ manner.

Jason Dormon who co-runs the Forum, which became a Community Interest Company earlier this year, said he would discuss signing up with the venue’s committee.  They would spend any money they raised on improving disability access.

Only charities which have a direct benefit to the people in the borough will be considered eligible to participate.

To view the website, visit https://www.twlotto.co.uk/

 

How it will work?

Winning the £25,000 jackpot will require players to match six numbers ranging from 1-9, and they have to be in order. Unlike the national lottery, the numbers can be repeated more than once.

Someone would win the jackpot with the numbers 123456, if drawn in that order, but not if drawn as 213456 as they must be sequential.

Five correct numbers will get you £2,000, four is worth £250, three earns you £25 and two numbers gets you three free tickets.

The chances of winning the jackpot are one in a million. The chance of winning any cash prize is 50 to 1.

For each £1 ticket, 60p goes to community groups, while 20p goes towards prizes. The remainder pays for the lottery operator and VAT.

Players will be able to specify which of the good causes they wish to support.

The lotto in insured in the event of someone hitting the jackpot in order to ensure they do not have to take money away from good causes to cover the prize money.