With the publication last month of their first three-year delivery plan, they are moving closer to bringing their ambitious Heritage 2033 strategy to life and supporting projects of all sizes that connect people and communities to UK heritage.
From January next year, applications through their open programmes, National Lottery Grants for Heritage, will be centred around their simplified framework of four investment principles: saving heritage, protecting the environment, inclusion, access and participation, and organisational sustainability.
In response to feedback from strategy surveys, public outreach, EDI research, and user surveys, the organisation is simplifying the application process to make it clearer and more proportional to funding requests. They’ll use their investment principles to guide decisions, asking applicants to demonstrate their alignment with these principles. This approach aims to foster innovative and community-rooted projects.
Heritage 2033’s vision is to preserve heritage for all, with plans to invest £1 billion over three years. While there will be a brief pause in applications for some programs from November during the transition, they encourage applicants to keep developing and submitting project ideas and reach out with any concerns.
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As they prepare to launch new funding processes, the organisation acknowledges the ongoing challenges faced by those involved in preserving the UK’s heritage. They remain dedicated to supporting efforts to safeguard, share, and celebrate the country’s diverse heritage.
This support includes open program project grants, with an encouragement to submit applications without delay to receive assistance during the transition period. Additionally, they offer support through their resilience and recovery program, having allocated £41.6 million since last August to strengthen heritage organisations. Furthermore, £33.5 million in grant increases has been provided over the past year to help heritage projects cope with rising costs.
The organisation is committed to offering ongoing support, aligning with the organisational sustainability principle within its investment framework. They pledge to remain flexible and responsive to crises throughout the implementation of their Heritage 2033 strategy.
In response to the cost of living crisis, the organisation has adjusted the upper and lower limits of its grants. Since the maximum grant amount was raised to £10 million in May, they have received noteworthy expressions of interest and are currently collaborating with organisations to refine their project concepts.
While they acknowledge that not everyone can undertake large-scale heritage projects at this time, they encourage those with the capacity to realize ambitious visions for the sector to reach out and engage with them.
The next significant step in Heritage 2033 involves announcing the first batch of locations for targeted, long-term investment to enhance community pride and heritage engagement. They plan to support 20 such places during the strategy’s duration, with the first nine being revealed next month.
This place-focused initiative aims to empower these locations to form local partnerships, address longstanding heritage challenges, and attract wider investment. While the primary goal is addressing local needs, they hope the positive impact will inspire similar place-based projects, fostering collaborations and revitalizing areas with significant heritage and community needs.
Additionally, they are progressing with other strategic initiatives outlined in Heritage 2033, such as a landscape initiative aimed at supporting large-scale projects to rejuvenate landscapes, promote nature conservation, and enhance connectivity. Updates on these initiatives will be provided in the coming months.
Heritage 2033 represents a collaborative effort involving numerous contributors and partners deeply invested in heritage preservation. Feedback from the UK Heritage Pulse survey has been encouraging, indicating that Heritage 2033 aligns with the sector’s needs and priorities.
The organization remains eager to engage with and receive input from stakeholders, fostering continued collaboration to realize their shared vision for heritage in the years to come.
In the meantime, they encourage everyone to explore the UK’s rich heritage offerings this summer. They have curated a selection of notable openings and opportunities that cater to diverse interests, and they look forward to the possibility of meeting you at these events.