Lottery fund confirms grant to Mermaids, rejecting angry protests

The National Lottery fund has confirmed it will go ahead with a grant to a charity for trans kids, which it had put on hold after complaints in the press and social media.

When the lottery first announced it was giving £500,000 over five years to Mermaids there was a flurry of activity online by protestors.

It included a campaign by the sitcom writer Graham Lineham which encouraged people on Mumsnet to email complaints to the Lottery Fund. The Sunday Times also featured a high profile and critical article.

no grounds

After its review of the grant, the National Lottery Community Fund says it “did not find any grounds to withhold funding from Mermaids UK. The grant has therefore been approved by the England Funding Committee.

“As part of our grant management process, we will work closely with Mermaids UK to ensure they are supported in their development”.

Mermaids delighted

Mermaids is clearly delighted with the result of the review. “Mermaids warmly welcomes the Fund’s decision”, they said in an online statement, “we are grateful for the Fund for conducting the review in a detailed, thorough, fair and appropriate manner”.

Sunday Times, 16/12/2018

still angry

The journalist Andrew Gilligan wrote the article in the Sunday Times shortly after the grant was originally announced.

After the decision was taken to go ahead with the award he said: “The National Lottery has approved its £500k grant to Mermaids. Its review does so on grounds which are provably false. When the public inquiry comes, the Lottery will have to account for these falsehoods”.

He went on to try to pick apart the results of the careful review.

a campaign of critical articles?

Trans campaigners accuse the Times and Sunday Times newspapers of what amounts to a campaign against Trans people.

The article which led to the suspension of the grant to Mermaids two months ago was one many published by the paper recently.

In it Gilligan accused Mermaids of campaigning “for children to be given prohibited sex-change treatment”.

He went on to write that the award of a grant “has angered MPs, feminists and women’s organisations, who accuse the charity of bullying doctors, promoting falsehoods and using “emotional blackmail” to pressure parents to support life-changing medical interventions for their children”.

Timeline:

21st November 2018 decision made to grant £500,000 to Mermaids.
14th December 2018 formal letter to Mermaids confirms the offer.
16th December 2018 a critical article appears in the Sunday Times.
17th December 2018 Mermaids told the award was being put on hold for a review.
24th December 2018 the Lottery had received 800 comments for and against.
19th February 2019 the review report is published and the award confirmed.

new and only support

The grant for half a million pounds over five years is to be used to set up local support groups for transgender children and their families around the UK. The charity says the grant will allow them to offer support in areas where there is none at the moment, bringing “fundamental and significant change”.

Hbomberguy raised around $350,000 for Mermaids

When the award was put on hold supporters of the charity put on fundraisers to try to make up the amount which could be lost.

They ranged from people online asking for donations to Mermaids instead of birthday gifts, to what became a massive online fundraiser by a gamer.

unexpected fundraising hit

In mid-January the YouTuber and gamer Hbomberguy decided to try to play the whole of the game Donkey Kong live online, to try to raise money for Mermaids.

To his surprise, and the amazement of Mermaids, the fund-raiser became an online sensation and he raised around $350,000 dollars.


Picture credits: logos from the organisations’ web pages, Hbomberguy picture from YouTube video.


 

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