UK Lottery funds heritage sites with £50m during the COVID-19 crisis
The UK National Lottery launched a £50m fund to save national heritage sites on 1 April. Through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, historic and maritime sites, museums, libraries, parks, gardens and natural sites in existential difficulties due to the corona pandemic can receive cash injections of between £3,000 and £50,000.
The Fund’s new website says that any organization that has previously received funding from the National Lottery could apply for a financial aid package.
Priority will be given to those organizations that …
would not have access to other sources of money and financial emergency packages.
could not save their sites from decay without financial help.
are at risk of an ongoing financial crisis due to COVID-19.
Eilish McGuiness, General Manager of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, explains:
We know that the situation is incredibly difficult for our cultural heritage community and we want to do everything we can to help it […]. Our heritage sites play an important role in improving community life, promoting economic prosperity and supporting personal wellbeing.
A survey by the National Lottery among 1,250 current beneficiaries showed that 82% of the organizations considered their long-term existence to be at risk. 46% would have said they could not last longer than six months if the corona crisis persisted.
Long-term crisis relief provided
The Heritage Emergency Fund is designed not only to provide immediate financial plaster, but to follow a long-term strategy to help organizations recover quickly and successfully after the current crisis has ended.
To this end, GBP 1.2 million will initially be invested in a digitization initiative. Organizations should be trained in digital fundraising, social media activity and online events.
In addition, there should be tailored advice and more flexible modalities for all beneficiaries. The 2,500 projects that are currently already being supported should continue to benefit from the national lottery.
However, how many of the UK’s cultural heritage sites will survive the Corona crisis depends largely on the length of the current lockdown measures. The new aid package of the National Lottery, however, seems to give a little glimmer of hope.
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