National Lottery to devolve 80% of its funding decision-making

The National Lottery funder will devolve 80% of its funding decision-making to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and three English areas.

Following a consultation of 13,000 people, the National Lottery Heritage Fund (formerly the Heritage Lottery Fund) says the new ‘simpler and streamlined’ approach will ensure ‘everyone is able to enjoy heritage’ and allow for newer and more innovative models of investment that move beyond grants to include loans and partnerships.

There will also be a major focus on nature and they say they will now require every heritage project that receives funding to be environmentally friendly.

There will also be greater support for projects in deprived communities that have previously been unsuccessful in securing funding as well as more support for large-scale, ‘iconic’ projects of over £5m.

Prior to this change, there were seven decision-making English regions (London, South East, South West, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber) but these will now be reduced to three (The North, Midlands & East, London & South).

Decision-making on grants up to £1m was made locally and the board would make the decisions on grants over £1m. Now decisions on awards up to £5m will be made locally, and the board will take the decisions on the major grants 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.’

Since its launch in 1994, £8bn 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 also secured jobs in the heritage sector and National Lottery funding has directly removed more than 250 buildings from national risk registers.

Heritage Minister Michael Ellis added: ‘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.’

The new portfolio of funding has today opened for applications.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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