Heritage 2033 – some observations
Heritage 2033 – the new 10-year strategy from the National Lottery Heritage Fund – sets out the Heritage Fund’s overarching principles and ambitions, which will be followed later this year by a series of delivery plans that will provide further detail and direction. In the meantime, you may be wondering what does the new strategy from such a key funder mean for your organisation and the sector? Here are 11 observations we’ve highlighted to share:
- Longer term view.
As Heritage Fund puts it “we will take a longer-term view, investing in heritage for the future as well as for the present.” This should be good news for heritage (avoiding a sticking plaster approach and leading to delivery of greater impact). Funded organisations may also feel more confident in proactively planning ahead.
- Investing in places not just individual projects.
Whether in the Levelling Up Fund or through Heritage Fund, place-making and investing in places is a growing priority for funders. This likely requires ambitious and joined up thinking, with partnership working beyond just one organisation.
- Strengthen partnerships with larger scale agencies.
Heritage Fund plans to “strengthen partnerships with governments, local authorities and statutory agencies and create new collaborations”. These are potential delivery partners who can work at a larger scale. It will be interesting to see what opportunities are solely delivered by them, and or working with other charities/organisations.
- Investment pot of £3.6 billion over the next 10 years.
A reasonably ambitious amount. For comparison £8.2 billion has been invested since Heritage Fund was established in 1994.
- Four investment principles.
Under Heritage 2033, four investment principles will “guide all our decision making”, whether open programme or strategic. Funded projects will be asked to “take all four into account in their applications”.
- Saving heritage – from protecting heritage at risk (and here “places of worship or industrial heritage” get a mention), to investing in places, to revitalizing skills, it is good to see the importance of heritage conservation given equal weighting.
- Protecting the environment – an increasing range and detail here: supporting natural heritage and sustainability projects, including at landscape scale, as well as enabling heritage to reduce its footprint and mitigate. It’s worth noting that building restoration and reuse will be encouraged rather than new build.
- Inclusion, access and participation – this is a familiar Heritage Fund priority enabling a more diverse range of people to get involved and removing barriers. An explicit aim is to support all communities to explore/ share their heritage. Increased prominence is also given to developing accessible digital resources.
- Organisational sustainability – a continued emphasis on strengthening the sector (skills, capacity and sustainability) is welcome, as is the commitment for flexible funding with the potential for “early planning” as well as “follow-on funding” to embed operational stability.
Greater clarity and guidance on these four principles will be crucial in the months ahead.
- More flexibility.
This aspiration is also welcome, although it is not yet clear what this will mean practically for applicants or grantees.
- Devolved decision making.
Heritage Fund will continue to use the “local knowledge and expertise” of their “six area and nation committees”. So, your local team will remain an important contact point.
- More proactive approach.
Heritage Fund have committed to taking “a more proactive approach to strengthen strategic investment, targeting our resources towards the most urgent needs”.
What percentage of the new investment pot will be proactive? How will the proactive stream develop and support applications?
- Heritage is seen as broad and inclusive.
“Heritage can be anything from the past that people value and want to pass onto future generations”. This is a definition at its widest, encompassing historic, nature, monuments, industry, culture and more.
- Additional funding for heritage.
As well as supporting heritage with money raised by National Lottery players, Heritage Fund recognises its potential role in delivering “additional funding for heritage on behalf of governments and other bodies”. This may result in announcements of further statutory/quasi statutory funding opportunities handled by Heritage Fund.
- Under Heritage 2033 there will be a higher upper threshold of £10m (potentially more) for large project grants.
This increased investment threshold will enable applications from very ambitious, large-scale projects, but raises questions over how much of the £3.6 billion will be awarded to multi-million projects as opposed to smaller scale ones. It is also somewhat disappointing to see that there has been no increase in the lower threshold of £250,000, above which applicants must apply through a 2-stage process with greater application requirements.
Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants offers a range of services, including advice and bid writing for applications to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. If you would like to discuss how we could help you, get in touch.