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Neath Port Talbot to share £200m funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Hen Eglwys, Margam

Neath Port Talbot Council has welcomed an announcement from the National Lottery Heritage Fund which will see the county borough benefit from a share of £200m to help transform the area’s heritage through a new Heritage Places initiative.

Neath Port Talbot is one of the first nine places set to benefit from the funding that aims to unlock the potential of their heritage.

Building on almost 30 years of experience, research and learning from the largest funder of the UK’s heritage, Heritage Places will provide early funding to engage communities and develop partnerships which unlock possibilities from the heritage on their doorstep.

It will seek out opportunities that have the potential to draw in and benefit from wider investment and support new projects and collaborations helping to address issues such as regeneration, sustainability and employment. Centred on the unique heritage of a place, Heritage Places is set to ignite people’s imagination, offer joy and inspiration and build pride in place by connecting the past with the future.

The announcement follows the development of Neath Port Talbot Council’s recent strategies which aim to make Neath Port Talbot a nationally recognised destination with a high-quality, accessible offer of sport, heritage, arts and culture.

The Neath Port Talbot Culture Strategy, draft Heritage Strategy, and Destination Management Plan have all been developed following extensive engagement with communities, stakeholders, and partner organisations.

The Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Cllr Steve Hunt said: “It’s incredibly exciting to think what can be achieved over the coming years in Neath Port Talbot with this announcement from The National Lottery Heritage Fund – the funds will help take our newly adopted Culture Strategy and draft Heritage Strategy forward.

As well as responding to the clear message from our residents that greater priority should be given to our heritage and culture, the impact of the investment over time could be truly transforming.

“We hope the impact of this on our communities and places will continue to inspire more applications for funding of heritage projects across the county borough and it ties in perfectly with one of the council’s prime objectives – ensuring our local environment, heritage and culture can be enjoyed by future generations.

“I’m sure all from the county borough would send a big ‘diolch’ to The National Lottery Heritage Fund organisers.”

Eirwen Hopkins, Convenor of the Heritage group Rich History, said: “Along with my colleagues, who have been beavering away in the voluntary sector for years to discover and promote Neath Port Talbot’s wonderful, and often hidden, heritage, I am delighted with this announcement!

“We have knowledge, hopes and dreams regarding the possible projects that may now be achieved to put Neath Port Talbot on the map for the rich tapestry of stories, characters, sites and buildings, and important historic events that both celebrate the local people for who they are, and link us with the wider history of Wales and the UK.

“We would all like to thank players of the Lottery for giving us this unique opportunity to get the news out that Neath Port Talbot has an amazing history and heritage! Diolch o galon!”

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“Heritage is as much about the future as it is the past. With the 10-year sustained investment offered by Heritage Places, the areas announced today can be sure that we will work with communities and partners to target place-based investment that boosts pride in place, connects communities with heritage, and takes confident strides forward using heritage as the foundation for change.”

Heritage Places is one of the long-term initiatives The National Lottery Heritage Fund will be introducing as part of its new 10-year strategy, Heritage 2033, to help address the challenges heritage faces and increase the contribution it makes to people and places.