It’s no longer the Heritage Lottery Fund or the HLF we’ll be referring to when talking about the heritage focussed grant giving arm of the National Lottery Fund. After months of consultation, planning and preparation the fund has relaunched as the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It’s not only the name of the fund which has changed, it’s also the approach, which was informed by people who responded to the fund’s consultation. Here’s a summary from the Heritage Fund website:

  • A major focus on nature, communities, and on ensuring everyone is able to enjoy heritage
  • new models of investment, moving beyond grants to include loans and partnerships, designed to attract others to invest money alongside the National Lottery
  • more support for commercial, sustainable approaches to tackling heritage that’s in danger of being lost
  • investment and support to help heritage organisations to be more financially sustainable
  • a requirement for every heritage project that receives funding to be environmentally friendly
  • simpler, streamlined and more efficient funding
  • greater engagement and support to help 13 deprived communities that have in the past been less successful securing funding
  • continued support for large-scale, iconic projects over £5million

So what does the name change and new approach mean for communities?

The focus of the fund is increasingly on social issues and wellbeing and on reaching the widest range of people. These are all aims we strongly support here at HAP. It will be great to see more heritage projects which engage diverse communities, bringing fulfilling and enriching experiences. The focus on nature and landscapes is also exciting news and could work well with the theme of wellbeing by encouraging more people and a wider range of people to explore and enjoy the outdoors. The new approach also favours capacity-building and innovation and enterprising ways of doing things which should see a rise in new and innovative projects, something we look forward to hearing and reading about.

Hopefully it means that groups applying for funding find the process easier and quicker too, with more decisions at a local level and a single open programme: National Lottery Grants for Heritage. All in all it seems like good news for heritage and for people. See more in this short video by the Heritage Fund and read more about their plans here.