Millions awarded to heritage projects via emergency fund

Forth rivers trust - hef - volunteers

Vital funding boost 

16th September 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded £6.4 million to over 100 organisations across Scotland as part of an emergency support package for the heritage sector.  

The money raised from The National Lottery will help address immediate pressures over the next few months for those organisations most affected by the repercussions of COVID-19.  

The fund was set up at speed in late April in recognition of the fact that the UK’s heritage would need significant help to survive the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. Since then grants have been awarded to cover costs including core staff, essential maintenance and utility costs, and safe reopening, saving many organisations from permanent closure.

Caroline Clark, Scotland director at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “As the enormous impact of the coronavirus pandemic became apparent, we had to act quickly to support the heritage sector and do our best to help organisations navigate through this incredibly challenging time. We launched our Heritage Emergency Fund which has allowed us to get funding out to over 100 diverse organisations. 

“We cannot save everyone and we know challenges still lie ahead, but we are grateful that, thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to help so many.”

This week, after five months away, volunteers are returning safely to the rivers of the Forth basin to carry out vital conservation work thanks to National Lottery Heritage funding. A grant of £49,200 has allowed Forth Rivers Trust to introduce safe working practices and purchase extra protection and additional tools. The volunteers will be tree-planting, managing invasive species, keeping paths maintained and monitoring fish and other species to protect and improve the area for wildlife and community use.

Alan Brooks (85) who helped to plant 400 trees along the Killandean, a tributary of the River Almond, comments: “Getting out and meeting new people is really important to me. I have missed the camaraderie of volunteering and the feeling that I am doing something to help nature.”

Grants have been made across the full breadth of heritage, from historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives to parks and gardens and landscapes and nature. They have also gone to charities supporting vulnerable and marginalised communities, and organisations exploring and supporting the UK’s cultural heritage.

Green spaces such as nature reserves and parks stayed open during lockdown and grants were used to help keep wardens working, care for livestock and native species, maintain paths and landscapes and deal with litter. The grants helped museums and historic houses to care for their collections and buildings while they were closed, as well as enable them to safely reopen as restrictions lifted.

Awards were made to organisations across Scotland from the North Isles of Shetland to the Isle of Whithorn.

The highest proportion of grants supported organisations that manage historic buildings and monuments (34%), followed by museums, libraries and archives (24%) and those who care for our natural heritage (16%).