Heritage sector gets chance to innovate thanks to new National Lottery funding

Heritage sector gets chance to innovate thanks to new National Lottery funding

The heritage sector has been handed a much-needed boost with the announcement of new National Lottery funding. The government has promised to use the funding to support innovative projects that build stronger, healthier and more vibrant communities. This article will discuss the implications of this new funding, including who will benefit and how it may support growth in the heritage sector.

What is heritage sector?

The heritage sector is made up of organisations and individuals that are dedicated to preserving the culture, history and traditions of the nation. This includes institutes and organisations dedicated to the management and promotion of heritage, as well as private individuals who have an interest in the field. Heritage sites, heritage trails and events, museums, galleries, archives, historic buildings and monuments are all under the umbrella of the heritage sector.

How has heritage sector been affected by COVID-19?

The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the heritage sector. Many heritage sites, museums and galleries have had to reduce their opening hours or close completely due to stringent social distancing measures. This has had a significant knock-on effect to cultural organisations and those working in the heritage sector. Governmental support was needed to help the sector survive, and the new National Lottery funding comes as a lifeline.

What is the National Lottery?

The National Lottery is a UK-wide lottery game which is operated by Camelot Group PLC. The game originated in 1994 and has since become one of the main sources of funding for the arts, heritage, sport and culture. Funds raised from ticket sales are distributed back into the communities in which they were purchased, as well as across the UK.

How will National Lottery funding help the heritage sector?

The new National Lottery funding package is aimed at helping the heritage sector recover and innovate following the coronavirus pandemic. There is £135 million of funding available to heritage organisations and individuals, with projects such as the installation of outdoor seating and improvements to visitor facilities and amenities able to access up to £55 million in funding. This funding could transform the heritage sector and create more vibrant and engaging heritage sites.

Who will benefit from National Lottery funding?

Organisations and individuals will be able to apply for the funding, making heritage projects more accessible to the public. This could range from small, local heritage projects to larger, nationally significant initiatives. It is hoped that the funding will create more opportunities for the public to experience and engage with heritage.

What other support is available for the heritage sector?

In addition to the National Lottery funding, other funding streams are available for the heritage sector. This includes:

  • Heritage Stimulus Fund: Grants from £250,000 to £5 million available to organisations with an annual income of £10m or less.
  • Heritage Enterprise: Grants of at least £5 million available to organisation with an annual income of £21m or more.
  • Heritage Open Days: A national programme which offers free access to sites of cultural or architectural interest.

What challenges may the heritage sector face in the future?

The heritage sector is facing several challenges that need to be addressed in order to support its long-term sustainability. This includes:

  • Digital access: The sector is facing a digital divide, with some areas having access to technology and others lacking the necessary skills and resources to do so.
  • Climate change: Many heritage sites are vulnerable to changing weather patterns, with some facing increased flooding, coastal erosion or extreme temperatures.
  • Competing interests: The heritage sector is facing increased competition for resources and funding, with other sectors such as sport and culture taking priority in many areas.

What implications could National Lottery funding have on the future of the heritage sector?

National Lottery funding could open up opportunities for the heritage sector as it looks to innovate and embrace new technologies in order to be more accessible and engaging for visitors. This could involve the development of online resources such as virtual tours, live streaming and interactive activities, as well as the creation of heritage trails which link heritage sites together.

Where can I find out more about this funding?

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is currently accepting applications for their new funding package. Further information can be found on the National Lottery website.


The new National Lottery funding is a major boost for the heritage sector, allowing organisations and individuals to access vital funds and develop innovative projects. This funding could open up opportunities for new and existing projects, potentially transforming the sector and providing more opportunities for people to access and engage with heritage. The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced an exciting development in heritage funding, affording fresh opportunities to those in the heritage sector.

Thanks to an injection of £50m from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, individuals and organisations involved in the sector can apply for funds to revolutionise the way we look after and use our national heritage. The funding is aimed at allowing those in the sector to come up with innovative ways to create new digital experiences and explore new ways of engaging people with heritage.

The funds will also be utilised by heritage sites, trusts and collaborative projects, to promote their work and projects to a wider audience and engage with new audiences.

An important strand of the funding will also be dedicated to creating more excellent fellowship programmes to support those wishing to enter the sector and help create new leaders in the field.

The Chair of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Sir Peter Luff, said: “We are really pleased to have this opportunity to generate a step-change in heritage sector innovation. The National Lottery Heritage Fund is committed to modernising the heritage sector and letting more people benefit from this vital work.”

The various projects to be allocated funding will be decided upon at a later date; the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have said that they expect great things from the applicants.