The National Lottery changing lives

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the consultation on the priorities of the Committee during the Fifth Assembly.

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sees heritage as broad and inclusive, defined by those seeking funding in order to sustain what they value from the past and want to hand on to the future. In this way our funding helps to tell the stories of the many communities that make up our country today and of our diverse, but shared, heritage. We challenge projects to go beyond the traditional audience for heritage to reach those who are not well-represented and overcome the barriers experienced by people because of their disability, age, poor health, cultural background, lack of educational opportunities or difficult financial circumstances.

We are also clear that for many, the impact of National Lottery funding, and engaging with heritage, is a personal one. There are countless examples of how HLF funding changes people’s lives for the better. People like Angela Beacham whom started her own business as a result of volunteering at Cyfarthfa Castle in Merthyr Tydfil or Tracy Norris, who moved her GP practice from Hampshire to Wales because she was so enthralled by the HLF-funded osprey observatory project where she was also working as a volunteer. Given that it is the National Lottery that makes these stories possible, HLF has recently launched a new campaign to tell some of these stories under the banner of ‘Changing Lives’.

National Lottery has come to play an increasingly critical role in the funding of culture as other public funding sources reduce.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss our work further with you.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) was created in 1994 under the National Lottery Act and distributes money raised by the National Lottery to support projects involving the national, regional and local heritage of the United Kingdom. We operate under the auspices of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF). As a UK wide arm’s length public body, we receive Policy Directions from the UK Government as well as observing Policy Directions from the Welsh Government.

HLF invests in the full breadth of the UK’s heritage, from museums, libraries and archives, to historic buildings and industrial sites, parks, landscape and natural heritage, and the intangible – people’s memories and cultures. We regard ‘culture’ as referring to both arts and heritage.

Our approach makes ‘a lasting difference for heritage and people’, putting benefits for people, Including National Lottery players (the unique source of our income), at the heart of the projects we fund.

We can draw on over 21 years’ experience and over £343million of National Lottery investment in over 2,400 projects throughout Wales.  We have developed as an organisation by listening to what people want us to do through regular consultations, and undertaking research and evaluations to provide evidence for our approach. We have a five-year Strategic Framework which is flexible to enable us to respond to the challenges facing the UK’s heritage, and we introduce new initiatives and interventions as new needs and opportunities emerge.

Invitation to contribute to the consultation: HLF’s views on the priorities for the Committee

The Funding Environment

-        We want to see a vibrant and confident heritage sector, comprised of outward-facing organisations with the skills and capacity to sustain heritage, drawing on a broad base of funders and supporters, and with deep roots in their communities.

-        We know new funding models can help organisations overcome challenge. That is why we are helping organisations to become more enterprising and resilient (developing their fundraising, management and curatorial abilities), develop their skills further (craft skills, management skills and skills in the digital technologies) and attract new audiences (notably young people).

-        In the new funding environment it is increasingly important to find innovative ways to sustain our heritage – that is why we are delivering new approaches like Heritage Enterprise – a grant scheme that breathes new life into old buildings, broadening audiences and engagement and attracting commercial investment.

-        Cuts to local authority budgets mean that some parts of the sector face particular funding challenges: museums and galleries, archives, parks and open spaces and local conservation departments. Evidence suggests that local authority funding for heritage is being harder hit than other parts of the cultural sector. A complex picture is emerging across the UK.

-        Given the important role that National Lottery funding now plays, the continued availability of this support for heritage is critical. The National Lottery is a great asset.


Young people

-        Young People have long been under-represented in heritage.

-        We are currently building on the foundations of our successful Young Roots programme to create more opportunities for young people, including those outside formal education settings.

-        We have committed to creating a new UK-wide £10m young people’s initiative that will increase the ambition, scale and quality of youth engagement with heritage.


-        Investment in skills is a strategic priority for HLF. We have invested in targeted heritage skills programmes – Skills for the Future (SfF) and Training Bursaries – to deliver paid, high quality work-based training opportunities for new entrants to the workforce.

-        We are currently delivering a third round of funding for SftF.

-        In addition, the majority of our funding programmes provide opportunities to develop skills, and build up the management, capacity and infrastructure of cultural institutions.

Social and economic value of culture

Economic impacts

-        Heritage tourism is driven by a very broad range of attractions. HLF’s capacity to make large-scale strategic interventions in internationally recognised sites has transformed the heritage tourism infrastructure of the UK. HLF is currently the major funder of the development at St Fagans National History Museum.

-        In 2013, HLF launched a new programme to tackle ‘problem buildings’: Heritage Enterprise (It directly addresses the ‘market failure’ experienced by many vacant historic buildings, providing gap funding needed to make this type of project economically viable.

-        Heritage Enterprise complements our Townscape funding to help communities regenerate deprived towns and cities by improving the built historic environment in the heart of their communities – their high streets and town centres.

Social impacts

8.5 We know the public support and value heritage, and endorse the use of National Lottery funding for heritage. Our research, 20 Years in 12 Places shows people think heritage makes us happier about where we live and should be put firmly at the heart of place-shaping: 80% say local heritage makes their area a better place to live; 81% say heritage is important to them personally. People also think heritage has improved in recent years: 64% of residents say local heritage has improved in the time they have lived in their area; 69% say that HLF investment in their local area has been good or excellent use of National Lottery money.

Digital technology

-        The emergence of digital technology as a significant means to conserve, present, attract and engage audiences with heritage is of great importance to HLF and our projects. We aim to help the heritage sector take advantage of the opportunities offered and we encourage high quality work and innovation.