Grants worth £25,000 available to heritage charities to ‘pioneer new ways of working’

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is offering grants of up to £25,000 to help charities and other organisations in the sector explore “new ways of working”.

The funder’s Heritage Innovation Fund aims to help “nurture experimental new ideas and solutions”.

This includes ensuring the heritage sector has a diverse workforce.

In its explanation of “new ways of working”, the funder states that “we are aware these might be connected to complex and wider issues of diversity, inclusion, relevance, audiences and interpretation”.

The Fund has three phases of project development:

• Defining problems and exploring solutions.
• Testing new ways of working and gathering evidence of what works.
• Implementing the findings across the sector for other organisations to learn from.

This current round of funding is for the first, exploration stage.

Funding is available to charities, business and councils and closes on 27 September. A webinar will take place on 21 July around the fund and workshops are also taking place during the summer.

Alexandra Roberts, the funder’s head of innovation and new business said that a survey of heritage organisations earlier this year had highlighted a need for investment in innovation and testing new approaches.

“This pilot initiative is just one of the ways we are responding to this identified need,” she said.

“It is an important part of our wider commitment to working alongside practitioners from across the UK and all parts of heritage to explore the ideas, solutions and technologies that could effectively support heritage in the future."

The Young Foundation is partnering with the National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver the Fund to provide advice and develop innovation skills.

“Through recent challenges – from the pandemic to other national and global crises – heritage sites have proved vital for people’s health and wellbeing,” said Young Foundation chief executive Helen Goulden.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to those working to protect such spaces, supporting jobs and tourism as they do so. But the time is ripe to make progress on some of the stubborn and persistent workforce challenges, to ensure the heritage workforce is fully fit for the future.”

She added: “We know that the heritage sector can innovate, and the pandemic has shown us just how swiftly radical change can happen.

“We are delighted to support the Heritage Innovation Fund to provide the support, structure and collaborative learning environment for heritage organisations who want to experiment and learn to build new ways of working in a changed and changing world.”

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