A major devolution of decision-making across the whole of the UK is at the heart of new plans to distribute more than £1bn of National Lottery money to the UK’s heritage over the next five years, it was announced today.

National Lottery funder commits to more than £1bn for heritage
Bannockburn Visitor Centre © National Trust Scotland

Decisions on around 80% of all funding by the newly styled National Lottery Heritage Fund, which is changing its name from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will be made in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and three new English areas. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has consulted with more than 13,000 people, including National Lottery players and heritage organisations, on its priorities as the UK’s biggest funder of heritage.

The new approach includes:

  • a major focus on nature, communities, and on ensuring everyone is able to enjoy heritage – three top priorities for people who responded to the consultation;
  • new models of investment, moving beyond grants to include loans and partnerships, designed to attract others to invest money alongside the National Lottery;
  • more support for commercial, sustainable approaches to tackling heritage that’s in danger of being lost;
  • investment and support to help heritage organisations to be more financially sustainable;
  • a requirement for every heritage project that receives funding to be environmentally friendly;
  • simpler, streamlined and more efficient funding;
  • greater engagement and support to help 13 deprived communities that have in the past been less successful in securing funding; and
  • continued support for large-scale, iconic projects over £5m.

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“Over the past 25 years, money raised by people who buy National Lottery tickets has profoundly changed how we view and engage with the UK’s exceptionally varied heritage. By putting people at its heart, it has helped our wonderful buildings, iconic landscapes, cultural memories and traditions and native species not just survive, but thrive.

“Over the next five years, The National Lottery Heritage Fund will inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage, distributing more than £1bn.  So we will be making more decisions on funding locally and focusing on the heritage that really matters to people, creating jobs, bringing economic prosperity and improving people’s lives right across the UK.”

Also unveiled today is a new look for the organisation that has distributed £8 billion to more than 44,000 projects over the past 25 years.

A fresh new identity and name – The National Lottery Heritage Fund – is designed to thank National Lottery players and help people better understand the difference they make when they buy a ticket. This move underlines ambitions to see returns to good causes grow.

National Lottery funder commits to more than £1bn for heritage
Norwich Castle: Gateway to Medieval England © Norfolk County Council

Research has found that National Lottery players are keen to know more about how their money is used, so in future, every organisation awarded funding will be asked to think about how National Lottery players will be thanked, acknowledged and invited to participate in their work.

For the first time, all funding decisions up to £5 million will be decided by committees and senior staff in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and three geographical areas in England: North; Midlands & East; and London & South. This will amount to around 80% of The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s annual budget, compared with around half under the last strategic framework. Major awards over £5m will be decided by the UK Board of Trustees who will also drive the strategy and policy of the fund and make decisions on all UK heritage campaigns, joint funds and impact funds.  There will also be a wider network of office and staff locations across the UK to support this new structure.

A new, simplified portfolio of funding has today opened for applications.

National Lottery funder commits to more than £1bn for heritage
BAM! Sisterhood © The Angelou Centre

The portfolio will comprise:

  • National Lottery Grants for Heritage – an open programme for any type of heritage project from £3,000–£5 million.
  • Heritage funding campaigns designed to fulfil strategic needs or funding gaps.  The first two campaigns are will launch in 2019, focusing on: helping organisations build their capacity and organisational resilience, and helping to build digital capabilities.
  • Joint funds to deliver strategic initiatives in partnership with other organisations, such as the Future Parks Accelerator partnership with the National Trust.
  • Social investments such as impact funds and loans.
  • Two rounds of major grants of over £5 million in 2020–21 and 2022–23.

National Lottery Grants for Heritage can be applied for immediately – most grants will now have a preliminary “expression of interest” stage. Details on other new funding areas will be rolled out during 2019.

Heritage Minister Michael Ellis said:

“The UK’s heritage is the story of our shared past and culture. The National Lottery has funded thousands of projects that protect and celebrate the country’s diverse landscapes, traditional crafts, and buildings.

“This change by The National Lottery Heritage Fund will give heritage experts in the UK more power to care for the heritage that means the most to local people, and ensure it is protected for future generations.”

National Lottery in numbers

  • 2019 is the 25th anniversary of the National Lottery.  The first draw was broadcast live on BBC1 on 19th November 1994.
  • Each week, National Lottery players raise around £30 million for good causes.  In total, almost £40 billion has been raised and awarded to more than 535,000 individual projects – an average of 190 lottery grants in every UK postcode district.
  • £8 billion has been awarded to more than 44,000 heritage projects, including the V&A Dundee; Halifax Piece Hall; Belfast’s Titanic Quarter; 2,200 projects commemorating the First World War Centenary; Hull City of Culture; more than 950 public parks; the landscape and wildlife at the White Cliffs of Dover; St Fagans National Museum of History; Middleport Pottery; SS Great Britain; and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
  • Over 75% of Skills for the Future apprentices (1300) have secured jobs in the heritage sector – supporting the sector and the economy.
  • National Lottery funding has directly removed more than 250 buildings from national risk registers.