This pandemic has already affected us in ways most of us could never imagine. The heritage sector which expected to see the start of the busy season at Easter, remained closed. Yet the various lotteries and their supporting charities are already taking steps to help some of our most at risk heritage. The National Lottery is already at the forefront; in early April, they made available £50m to help heritage professionals and site managers adapt to the situation. Most of this money will go towards training for volunteers and paid employees to ensure long-term survival.
How the £50m At Risk Heritage Fund Will Help
It came in the wake of a joint statement from heritage sites. Most, it seemed, (some 82% could not survive more than six months. When those six months were over the busiest six months of the year for heritage, that would make timing especially critical. That’s why the at risk heritage grants are available now. Site management may apply for grants between £3,000 and £50,000, for sites already receiving National Lottery funding. The money is set aside for training volunteers and paid employees in digital skills:
- Social media outreach
- Digital fundraising
- Running online events
Sites with no access to other resources or financial aid will be first in line. This has come at a critical time considering that around one third of sites said their financial reserves would last less than four months. The majority of those left could last no more than six months. Most of this money is being diverted from standing grants set aside for other programmes that can now not go ahead. Shortly after the announcement, Heritage England said they would make more funds available. Now, more than ever, our most at risk heritage sites need protecting so future generations can continue to enjoy them.