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Time to explore the heritage outside your front door

Ogmore Castle. Credit: Cadw

While the circumstances of the past months have been challenging for everyone, they have given us all a greater appreciation of the local environment close to home. Many have enjoyed following long forgotten nature trails or visiting local landmarks and a new fund launched today is aiming to ensure these experiences are recorded for the future.

The historic environment body, Cadw, has teamed up with the National Lottery Heritage Fund to launch a small grants programme that will help people strengthen the connections they have made with their surrounding environment. Grants of between £3,000 – £10,000 are available with a simple application process and to support a huge variety of activities.

These could include the creation of new walking trails, informative window displays, engaging digital resources or interpretive panels. Innovative ideas for identifying and celebrating local heritage through art, theatre or story-telling will also be welcomed if they inspire people to take a greater interest in their local places.

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, believes that the local environment is more important than ever before,

“The past few months have undoubtedly been difficult for all of us and there  will continue to be challenges ahead.  But one thing that has become clear is that people have a greater interest now in the heritage that is on their doorstep, and have found that connecting with nature and heritage can contribute to their sense of  wellbeing.

“This new initiative which we are calling “15 minute heritage” aims to build on this interest and will encourage people to record their stories, to find out more about their past and the places where they live. Everyone can benefit from the heritage of their immediate environs, and pay a part in identifying and preserving it – and by doing so helping to secure a lasting legacy for the future.”

The idea is based on a planning concept called the 15 minute city, where everyone can meet most of their needs within just a short walk from their home. It also highlights the fact that local heritage makes and shapes the community around it and this initiative is also looking to encourage projects to share diverse interpretations of heritage, for example between generations, ethnic groups or specialised interest groups.

Andrew White is the National Lottery Heritage Fund Director for Wales, responsible for distributing these grants,

“At the Fund we have always stressed that heritage can be defined in many different ways – it can be a building, a landmark, a nature reserve or even your local shop. They all play a part in creating and shaping our communities and offer a valuable insight into today’s society.

“Thanks to National Lottery players and this partnership with Cadw, people will have the opportunity to preserve their memories of their local landscape and keep them alive for future generations. I, for one, am very much looking forward to seeing people’s ideas and supporting them to become a reality.”

Local Authorities, third sector organisations, community and voluntary groups are all eligible to apply and closing date for applications is 14 October 2020. Further information can be found at www.heritagefund.org.uk/funding