Letters

The New Opportunities Fund's healthy living centre programme is the largest community-focused public health initiative in the UK, probably the largest in Europe.

Far from being 'nipped in the bid', as your headline to Lesley Mountford's article suggests, the programme has generated enormous enthusiasm and an exciting portfolio of innovative and sustainable projects.

No funding programme is immune to criticism, but research of the kind reflected in Lesley Mountford's article - based on interviews with only 11 people (selected on what basis? ) - is not likely to provide a balanced picture.

Many people wrongly believe that funding bodies make applicants jump through unnecessary hoops. In fact, the information we ask applicants to provide is a natural outcome of proper projects planning. We do not ask any question that the applicants should not already have asked themselves.

This process is essential for developing projects which will be sustainable in the long term.

Your introduction implies that only a small proportion of applications will be funded by saying that 'only' 65 out 1,000 have so far been approved. In fact, we expect to fund around two-thirds of applications at stage two - a good deal higher than most lottery-funded programmes.

Baroness Pitkeathley Chair New Opportunities Fund London WC1