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  • Collaboration with the National Lottery Heritage Fund

    Posted on May 20, 2020

    Visitors exploring the medieval ruins at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

    Lotteries are among the most important patrons of the arts in Europe. The UK National Lottery Heritage Fund aims to ‘Inspire, Lead and Resource’ the sector.

    Collaboration with the Lottery was one of the specific practices identified by the Innocastle team on their study visit to the UK in May 2019.  The ‘good practice’ is available on the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform with additional resources here on the INTO site.

    Readers directed here from the Policy Learning Platform – please scroll down for a selection of resources.

    Heritage: It’s a lottery

    The UK government introduced the National Lottery in 1994 to raise funds for good causes. It was felt that an independently administered state lottery could bypass any problems faced by Government in allocating resources for public expenditure.

    25% of the money spent on National Lottery games is allocated to good causes.  Of that 40% is awarded to health, education, environment and charitable causes, 20% to sports, 20% to arts and 20% to heritage.

    The National Lottery Heritage Fund has six objectives:

    • Continue to bring heritage into better condition
    • Inspire people to value heritage more
    • Ensure that heritage is inclusive
    • Support the organisations they fund to be more robust, enterprising and forward looking
    • Demonstrate how heritage helps people and places to thrive
    • Grow the contribution that heritage makes to the UK economy

    The National Trust has a good success rate securing Heritage Fund grants (85% of all applications submitted are funded). Moreover it generally has a pipeline of projects that will meet many, if not all, of the Heritage Fund’s objectives. There is an excellent fit between the two organisations, with real synergy in areas such as land and nature, urban places, well-being and digital collections. And the Heritage Fund is one of the few major sources of external funds for the Trust’s work.

    Visitor on the approach at Seaton Delaval Hall, Northumberland.

    Potential for learning transfer

    Innocastle delegates spent some time during the UK study visit considering the social value of heritage, heritage as an instrument to create a more equal society and the role of heritage in cultural identity.

    One of the requirements for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is wider community benefit. In all their communications, the Heritage Fund describes its work as ‘We fund a broad range of projects that connect people and communities to the national, regional and local heritage of the UK. We fund heritage projects. Heritage can be anything from the past that you value and want to pass on to future generations.’

    And every project must deliver the outcome ‘A wider range of people will be involved in heritage’.

    For countries where they do not have a lottery to fund the arts or heritage projects, there is definitely potential for learning from the National Lottery Heritage Fund approach.


    Celebrating our National Lottery Heritage Fund supported projects: Thanks to the Heritage Fund, and players of the National Lottery, the National Trust has received more than £118 million to restore and repair historic houses, gardens and precious countryside. From returning the 18th-century Seaton Delaval Hall to its former glory, to improving a family park on the shores of Lake Windermere, these wide-ranging projects inspire people of all ages. And their impact is significant too, with millions visiting the places that have benefitted from these grants each year. This timeline explores how the Heritage Fund helps bring heritage to life.  (National Trust, 2020)

    National Lottery Heritage Fund Strategic Funding Framework for 2019–2024: This document sets out the Heritage Fund’s vision and the principles that will guide its National Lottery investment for the next five years.   (National Lottery Heritage Fund, 2019)

    ‘Mission Patrimoine’: There are of course other models in other countries.  France launched a ‘Mission Patrimoine’ lottery scratch card in 2018 with the Fondation du Patrimoine.  The first edition raised 22,000,000 € for heritage projects through ‘Mission Stéphane Bern‘.

    Nationale Postcode Loterij: In the Netherlands, the Postcode Lottery supports charities dedicated to ‘people and planet’.  Natuurmonenten, who we met during the Innocastle Study Visit to Gelderland last year, received over 14,000,000 € in grants in 2019.

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