Heritage Fund Gives UK Heritage Projects Direct Relief Of £50m

The National Lottery has announced that its ‘Heritage Emergency Fund’ has provided 950 organisations across the UK with £ 50 million in direct funding to help deal with the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Heritage Fund, the autonomous body tasked with administering National Lottery funds to UK heritage and cultural initiatives, has given a breakdown of its early April introduced £50 million ‘Emergency Fund’ directive.

The Heritage Fund, open to all communities and organisations interested in preserving UK cultural initiatives, announced that 77 percent of all applications received were approved by it.

Organizations maintaining historic buildings and landmarks were granted the highest proportion of heritage grants (29 per cent). Grants to ‘community networks’ such as theatre groups and cultural organisations (26 percent) helping to promote the art and artistic communities of the UK were closely accompanied by funding.

In the meantime, museums, libraries and archives received 19 percent, while natural heritage sites obtained 14 percent with historic manufacturing, maritime and transportation heritage sites receiving 10 percent of funding.

Ros Kerslake, the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Chief Executive, said: “This is the biggest heritage crisis I have seen in my lifetime. Every area of heritage we support has been severely affected, from wildlife trusts and gardens to museums and historic railways. Many of the places we know and love faced permanent closure within weeks of the start of lockdown.

“We realised that heritage would need significant support to survive, and we have worked incredibly hard to provide a lifeline and get grants out of the door in record time. We cannot save everyone and challenges still lie ahead, but we are grateful that, thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to help so many.”

The Heritage Fund provided in its breakdown a range of key initiatives it had funded during the crisis period, including:

  • £220,000 for ‘Glastonbury Abbey’ helping support the maintenance of its grounds and ruins
  • £250,000 to ‘Wicksteed Park’ in Northamptonshire helping cover staff costs to maintain animal and wildlife welfare
  • £55,000 to ‘Mourne Heritage Trust’ helping preserve natural heritage in the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland
  • £50,000 to Scotland’s ‘Strathspey Railway’ to continue essential maintenance of heritage trains and engines
  • £50,000 to the ‘Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales’ to help wardens continue to care for rare seabirds that nest on Skomer and Skokholm islands.

The Heritage Fund has announced that it has suspended any National Heritage Lottery Grants until 2021, concentrating its efforts on solving the COVID-19 crisis.

The Heritage Fund, funding UK heritage organisations and key staff, has accelerated the creation of its £1.5 million ‘Digital Skills for Heritage’ programme – offering direct guidance ‘to support organisations pivoting to digital – many for the first time.’