Wednesday, 12 June 2024
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Wednesday, 12 June 2024

UK’s largest heritage funder re-opens grants of up to £5million

THE National Lottery Heritage Fund has announced that applications have reopened for project grants from £3,000 to £5million.

This welcome news follows almost a year of providing emergency support for heritage in response to the COVID-19 crisis. National Lottery Grants for Heritage is the UK’s largest funding stream for heritage projects, with £200m to £300m usually distributed each year.

In March 2020 The National Lottery Heritage Fund halted new project funding, with all efforts focussed on supporting heritage across the UK to survive and recover from the impact of COVID-19. Thanks to the £50million Heritage Emergency Fund, more than 950 organisations across the UK were able to cope with the challenges they faced when they needed it most. In November 2020 applications for projects between £3,000 to £100,000 reopened and now, applications are once again open for funding awards from £3,000 up to £5million.

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

“Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, creating economic prosperity and supporting personal wellbeing. All of these are going to be vitally important as we build back from the current pandemic.

“During 2020, we focused on supporting heritage across the UK to adapt and respond to the immediate impact of the COVID-19 crisis. By the end of this financial year, we will have supported more than 1,500 organisations across the heritage sector with over £500million of National Lottery and Government funding.

“Our focus now is to support the heritage sector to strengthen its recovery and to build back for positive change – reopening applications for heritage projects is key to the success of this.”

National Lottery Grants for Heritage are once again available for the same, broad range of heritage projects and activities that have always been supported, from industrial heritage and sites, castles and historic places of worship, to the stories and memories of communities, through to public parks, natural landscapes and native wildlife.

The critical change is that – between April 2021 and March 2022 – when making funding decisions, priority will be given to heritage projects that deliver at least one of the following outcomes:

  • boosting local economies, including job creation
  • improving people’s wellbeing
  • making local areas a better place to live, work and visit
  • developing skills, including creating training opportunities
  • improving the resilience of organisations

These priority outcomes will ensure that the funding provided by National Lottery players will support the wider UK economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is a requirement for every project to achieve an inclusion outcome: ‘a wider range of people will be involved in heritage’. In addition, all projects will have to demonstrate they are environmentally responsible and are integrating environmental measures, reflecting The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s commitment to environmental sustainability and a ‘green’ recovery from the pandemic.

National Lottery Grants for Heritage were introduced in February 2019 as part of a new, simplified funding model. Since then, more than 1,000 projects have been funded, including:

Rochdale Town Hall – £8.3m to one of the most historically significant buildings in the UK, with features rivalled in importance only by those within Westminster’s Palace. The investment is integral to the town’s wider regeneration, creating a sense of local pride, positively impacting the local economy and contributing to the UK’s levelling up agenda.

The Eulogy Project – capturing the individual, untold stories of first-generation Jamaican immigrants to Leeds. This cross-generational, multi-platform project, tells stories that anyone can relate to. Its centrepiece is an exhibition of content taken from funeral programmes of the city’s first-generation Jamaicans, together narrating the story of a whole generation.

Newport Transporter Bridge in South Wales is one of only eight remaining transporter bridges in the world. An £8.75m National Lottery grant will allow Newport City Council to repair and preserve the structure of the bridge. It will also help sustain jobs, support economic growth, drive tourism and create a sense of pride in Newport’s unique heritage.

In the north-east of Scotland, National Lottery funding has been awarded to a pioneering project which uses nature to tackle isolation and loneliness among care home residents. Silver Saplings, run by environmental charity Wild Things, uses nature activities to improve mental and physical health while also caring for some of Scotland’s most fragile natural heritage. A £475,700 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund is expected to help over 3,000 vulnerable people.

Grade II Dockyard Church in Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent was badly damaged by fire in 2001. In 2019 the Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust was awarded a £4.2m grant to repair and renovate the church as a hub for business, arts and tourism including a business enterprise centre for young people and a community café.  When complete, Dockyard Church will provide a major cultural and economic boost for this special but little known part of north Kent which has suffered decades of underinvestment.

As well as opening up 4.5 miles of canal and preserving the canal archives from the 1730s, Cotswold Canals Connected will bring huge benefits in terms of the economy, leisure, health, heritage and the environment. An £8.9m grant is funding the creation of 21 hectares of biodiversity land and 30,000 new trees and shrubs. This will generate additional spending of £5.5 million a year in the local economy, bringing health benefits estimated at £8 million a year, and involve up to 500 extra volunteers.

Further information, including guidance on how to apply for grants, can be found here:


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