CHARITY volunteers, councillors and a much-loved anchorman united to celebrate the official launch of the Havant Community Lottery.
Tickets for the hotly-anticipated drive went on sale on Tuesday, marked by a ceremony at Havant Borough Council’s Public Service Plaza this morning.
From the sweepstake’s first draw on April 7, residents will have the chance to win a £25,000 top weekly prize – while more than 30 charities and good causes will benefit from a share of ticket sales.
Television presenter Fred Dinenage – who went to Portsmouth Grammar School – met organisers and beneficiaries at yesterday’s event.
He said: ‘I think this community lottery is such a brilliant idea.
‘It’s so hard for charities and local communities to get money these days.
‘Something that is going to help them raise vital funds has got to be a good thing.’
More than 130 tickets for the lottery’s first draw have been sold so far.
Priced at £1, 50p from every entry will go to a registered, local good cause of the player’s choice – with an additional 10p going into a central community pot.
Signed up to benefit is The Friends of the Hermitage Stream conservation group, which works to sustain the biodiversity of the borough waterway and its surrounding areas.
One of the initiative’s volunteers, Dee Tupper, 60, said: ‘This lottery is a brilliant idea.
‘We need funds to continue the work we do and, in the future, we would like to set up a stream-dipping platform so the area is readily available for disabled children.
‘We also want to set up a community orchard for Havant and Leigh Park, where anybody can come and pick fruit.
‘I really believe this scheme could make a big difference.’
As of yesterday, 34 causes had registered as beneficiaries of the sweepstake – but Havant Borough Council (HBC) bosses say as many as four are joining the ranks every day.
Councillor Leah Turner, HBC cabinet lead for communities and housing, said: ‘By starting this lottery, we felt we could help local good causes help themselves.’
To buy tickets for the lottery, visit havantlottery.co.uk.
Charities can also sign as beneficiaries through this website.