Town may soon get monthly lottery boost

A MONTHLY lottery draw could be developed in St Neots to help raise the money needed to provide the town with new leisure facilities. Initially, if the scheme takes off, the lottery money would be used to support a cinema. The idea is the brainchild of St

A MONTHLY lottery draw could be developed in St Neots to help raise the money needed to provide the town with new leisure facilities.

Initially, if the scheme takes off, the lottery money would be used to support a cinema.

The idea is the brainchild of St Neots's new mayor, Councillor Robert Eaton, who saw a similar scheme run successfully in Wales.

"In Pembrokeshire, where I used to live, they held a lottery and it was very successful," he told The Hunts Post. "Each month residents would pay by direct debit to take part in the lottery and the top prize was about £2,000 with the rest of the money going towards leisure facilities in the town.


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"This could work in St Neots to help pay for a cinema."

The father of four said the lottery idea was something he was researching, but more investigation would be needed.

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This work has now started and a report should be ready for St Neots Town Council within the next two to three months.

Head of leisure and amenities at the council, Gavin Clark, said the idea of a monthly lottery was something the mayor had asked him to look into.

"It is something I am investigating as it sounds like a really good idea. The plan would be to use the money to fund leisure facilities in the town.

"The idea is likely to be discussed at a town council meeting in a couple of months' time."

Ian Jones, is the town clerk at Pembroke Dock Town Council, said the lottery idea had proved very successful in Pembrokeshire and that he would recommend it to other towns.

"The money is used for the regeneration of businesses within the local area and it has undoubtedly helped to keep our businesses alive," he said.

The weekly county lottery is organised by Pembrokeshire Lottery, an independent trust, and each week offers a top prize of £2,000 and five £100 cash prizes.

The prize draw takes place live on a local radio station.

The scheme is said to have helped more than 200 Pembrokeshire businesses since it was formed 14 years ago. It was esablished in reaction to high levels of unemployment.

Naomi Joseph, manager of the Pembrokeshire Lottery, said the scheme had been so successful they now sell starter packs to other towns interested in forming their own lottery.

"The lottery could work in any town no matter how small or big. In bigger towns the potential is enormous. You could use the money for anything you want, such as helping businesses or leisure facilities," she said.

Each week the Pembrokeshire Lottery generates about £6,500 with tickets selling for £1.

Mrs Joseph added: "We have saved loads of businesses from closure over the years and as long as the lottery keeps going we will continue to save loads more."

Any money generated from a St Neots lottery would be needed to secure a long-awaited cinema for the town. The council is planning to use a £1million gift from Lord of the Manor Peter Rowley to lure a cinema operator to St Neots, but estimates suggest £4million would be needed.

Negotiations with operators are believed to have moved forward with one, as yet unnamed, business showing a keen interest in building a four-screen facility in the town.

n Do you think a St Neots lottery it is a good idea, and would you buy a ticket? Send your views to editor@huntspost.co.uk or write to The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TB.

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