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New lottery fund offers £100m for major UK heritage projects


The UK’s National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) has launched a new three-year, £100m (US$127.6m, €112m) grant scheme aimed at “ambitious, innovative and transformational” projects in UK heritage.

NLHF is seeking applications from across the UK for its new Heritage Horizon Awards, with the grant allocating funds of £5m (US$6.38m, €5.6m) and over. Of the £100m pot, the first half will be allocated in 2020 and the second half in 2022.

NLHF said that in deciding where the awards are allocated, there will be a particular focus on its current strategic priorities: landscape and nature; and heritage at risk. The body will also favour those projects with “substantial proposals for recognising the contribution of The National Lottery”, and added that it “may choose to negotiate naming rights” for the first time.

The application process will see an “Expressions of Interest” stage, giving applicants an early steer on their chances of success. The most promising applicants will then be asked to present their proposals to a panel of trustees, and a public shortlist of 10-12 bidders will be invited to make an application. The deadline for expressions of interest is 11 October.

“All successful applicants will need to have demonstrated exceptional proposals, including a wide range of people in heritage,” the organisation said.

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said that there had been “long and hard” thought as to whether it could continue to invest in large-scale projects, given the imbalance between demand for good causes and available funding.

“When we consulted it was clear to us that if we stopped, it is unlikely that anyone else would be able to step in, and major, transformative heritage projects simply would not happen.”

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the launch of the UK’s National Lottery, and Kerslake said it was “an important moment to reflect on just how transformational this unique funding model has been for our heritage”.

Among the projects funded have been Stonehenge, the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, Alexandra Palace, Jodrell Bank, SS Great Britain and outdoor locations such as the Great Fen wetland restoration area and Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

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