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New-look National Lottery Heritage Fund unveils plans for funding Wales’ heritage

Wales will have an even greater say on how National Lottery funds are distributed to support our national heritage according to wide ranging plans announced today.

The newly styled National Lottery Heritage Fund, which is changing its name from the Heritage Lottery Fund, has engaged with over 13,000 people all around the UK, including National Lottery players and heritage organisations on its priorities for the next five years as the UK’s biggest funder of heritage.

Among the views gathered were widespread support to the breadth of heritage work supported by the Fund and a consistent call for more grant making decisions to be taken on a local basis.

Other key elements of the new approach include:

  • a major focus on nature, communities, and on ensuring everyone is able to enjoy heritage – three top priorities for people who responded to our consultation;
  • simpler, streamlined and more efficient funding;
  • new models of investment, moving beyond grants to include loans and partnerships, designed to attract others to invest money alongside the National Lottery;
  • more support for commercial, sustainable approaches to tackling heritage that’s in danger of being lost;
  • investment and support to help heritage organisations be more financially sustainable;
  • a requirement for every heritage project that receives funding to be environmentally friendly;
  • more funding and support for the most under-funded and deprived communities in Neath Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taff;
  • continued support for large-scale, iconic projects over £5m.

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“Over the past 25 years, money from the National Lottery has profoundly changed how we view and engage with our diverse heritage. By putting people at its heart, it has helped our wonderful buildings, iconic landscapes and natural heritage to not just survive, but thrive. But these are challenging times and to ensure we are in the best possible shape to help inspire people to value our heritage more, to lead and resource our fantastic projects as we go forward, it’s time for a fresh look at how we do things.

“Over the next five years, the National Lottery Heritage Fund will have the ability to make even more decisions on projects across Wales, ensuring that National Lottery players’ money will have an even greater impact right across the country.”

Also unveiled today is a new look for the organisation that has distributed close to £400 million in Wales to over 2,600 projects. A fresh new identity and name – The National Lottery Heritage Fund – is designed to help players of the National Lottery better understand the difference they make when they buy a ticket. This move underlines ambitions to see returns to good causes grow.

One of the key speakers at today’s launch event is the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Ellis Thomas AM,

“We are fortunate in Wales to have such a diverse, complex and immensely rich heritage. What is so heartening about the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s approach is that they appreciate the breadth of heritage we have in Wales and how it can mean different  things to different people. Investment in our communities can offer multiple benefits including more jobs, improved skills and ultimately a greater sense of  wellbeing; I welcome the aspirations set out in the Fund’s framework and look forward to working in partnership to ensure it is delivered effectively.”

In Wales two areas have been identified as having been underfunded and with high levels of deprivation, Neath Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taff,  and they will now receive greater support to develop their applications and additional funding will be made available to help projects in those areas.

Research has found that National Lottery players are keen to know more about how their money is used, so in future every organisation awarded funding will be asked to think about how National Lottery players will be thanked, acknowledged and invited to participate in their work.

For the first time all funding decisions up to £5 million will be decided by the committee and senior staff in Wales.