A BID by Frimley Community Association for a £260,000 National Lottery handout has been rejected - because the money is going to minority groups instead.

The snub has angered the association's chairman, Adrian Martell, and its treasurer, Dr Tony Moore, who made the application to the lottery's community fund.

They have slammed the fund for brushing aside the association's application, which would have benefited local old folk, in favour of payouts to asylum seekers and similar groups.

Mr Martell said: "I find the lottery's reply insulting. We help the elderly, the physically handicapped and similar groups, but it seems they don't count.

"What's more we welcome all nationalities into this community centre, but it appears that because we aren't in Lambeth or Peckham, we aren't eligible for a grant."

He accused the Government of hijacking the lottery and changing the distribution rules since it came to power.

"It's time the public woke up to what's going on," added Mr Martell, whose wife, Dolores, is a former Tory Mayor of Surrey Heath.

His views were echoed by Dr Moore who accused lottery chiefs of not being interested in the area's "ordinary people".

He said: "They appear to regard Surrey Heath as an affluent area which therefore doesn't meet their criteria for financial assistance."

The decision is a major setback for the association which needed the money to help pay for a £670,000 extension to its premises in Balmoral Drive.

It is now banking on Surrey Heath Council to help rescue the scheme which would provide extra space and facilities for the elderly, mothers with young children, and other groups.

The proposed improvements would also allow the centre to extend its opening hours and become self-financing. Any profits would be donated to local charities.

Community Fund regional manager Dorothy Buckrell told the association in a letter that it could reapply for a grant.

But she warned: "Although the fund remains a generalist funder, if your project is not in one of these priority areas or groups, its chances of success in being funded are reduced."

The fund's priority list covers vulnerable young people, black and minority ethnic communities, refugees and asylum seekers, older people and their carers, and people in areas disadvantaged by social or economic change.

Fact box:

** Last year more than £20 million of lottery money was given to refugee groups.

** THE lottery's Community Fund says asylum groups will remain a "priority" in cash allocation.

** £340,000 has been given to an anti-deportation organisation. These politically correct but unpopular decisions have hit ticket sales.