News & Insight

14th March 2023

Heritage Day 2023 and a renewed focus on funding

a renewed focus on funding

Spring was in the air for ‘Heritage Day 2023’, as was a renewed focus on heritage funding and conservation. Last week, Philanthropy Company caught up with impressively passionate and committed heritage professionals at the annual conference of the Heritage Alliance.

The wonderful venue was The Charterhouse (a historic London gem with a fascinating history) and it  was time to celebrate; the conference marked the 20th anniversary of the Alliance, and there was a renewed sense of optimism. At our Philanthropy Company stand, we were delighted to speak to volunteers, managers, and owners of historic sites, about fundraising; post Covid, we have seen capital funding opportunities return, so we were pleased to hear of renewed plans to conserve and protect precious assets, rich in cultural value, and vital for tourism. In 2021, UK tourism supported millions of jobs and contributed £131.5 billion[1] to the economy; looking ahead, Visit Britain estimate the industry will be worth £257 billion by 2025.

Major funders like the Garfield Weston Foundation understand the economic value heritage – their grant funding last year (almost £90 million) matched pre-pandemic donation levels; their confidence in hundreds of projects, from a £5 million grant to Museum of London, to £5,000 for Tanet Valley Railway, opens the door for further investment and creates momentum.


Heritage Funding 2023-2033 – £3.6 billion investment

Central to this investment and momentum is of course the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), the UK’s largest funder of heritage.  They joined ‘Heritage Day 2023’ to meet the sector, and like the Alliance they too had cause to celebrate.  That morning, just around the corner in the Great Hall of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, they had launched their new 10-year strategy.  Welcome news for historic houses, parks and gardens, industrial and maritime heritage groups, and many more. The NLHF 2023-2033 funding programme will see £3.6 billion invested in saving heritage, protecting the environment, and welcoming more people through improved access and inclusion.   At Philanthropy Company, we work with charities and heritage organisations to build Lottery bids, and use our expertise to align trusts and foundations funding with projects.  So for our clients, this level of confidence and investment is going to be fundamental to fundraising.


In person

Meeting in person for ‘Heritage Day 2023’ was wonderful – lockdown online conferences were great, but nothing can replace the warmth and energy meeting ‘in real life’  – attendees had travelled from across the country to share stories and look to the future; the camaraderie was tangible.  Gathered in The Charterhouse’s Great Chamber, we heard keynote speeches from René Oliveri, National Trust Chair, and the Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson; we cheered on ‘Heritage Heroes’, outstanding volunteers awarded for bringing historic sites to life; and we learnt how green projects and environmental concerns will become ever more important for heritage.   But perhaps more importantly, we heard inspirational stories from the Young Trustees panel (including Kids in Museums, and the Young Trustees Movement); how much the UK’s heritage is valued in the future – both tangible and intangible heritage – is going to depend on the energy, skill, and passion young people now. I think it is safe to say that everyone at ‘Heritage Day’ felt reassured; there is an untapped wealth of young hearts and minds ready for the challenges ahead. And looking at NLHF’s priorities for the next ten years, their grant programmes will support so many exciting projects.

[1] Statista Research, November 2022

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