THE National Lottery Heritage Fund has announced £50 million of "lifeline" emergency funding to support heritage projects during the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund has helped establish and maintain some of South East Wales' most popular heritage tourism destinations, including the Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon.

The new Heritage Emergency Fund will address short-term pressures over the next 3-6 months for those most in need, alongside investment in digital skills such as digital fundraising, use of social media and communications, and running online events and activities.


“We know that circumstances are incredibly challenging for our heritage community right now and we want to do everything we can to support them," Eilish McGuinness, of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said. "We hope this new emergency fund and our investment in digital capability will be a lifeline for organisations affected."

The fund will support heritage organisations whose financial reserves are under threat due to coronavirus and the social-distancing measures which have been put in place.

A recent survey of more than 1,250 heritage organisations, on the effect of the Covid-19 crisis, found the vast majority - 82 per cent of respondents – reported a high or moderate risk to their organisation’s long-term viability.

More than one-third (35 per cent) said their financial reserves would be depleted within four months, and 46 per cent of organisations said they could survive for no more than six months.

UK government heritage minister Nigel Huddleston said: “It is important that we do all we can to ensure our nation’s remarkable heritage landscapes, buildings and monuments – and the hardworking organisations that protect them – are supported at this difficult time."

He added: "This new £50 million package from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will help to protect our most at risk heritage throughout this unprecedented period.”

Grants from the new emergency fund will be open for applications, and further details provided on the selection criteria and how to apply, in the next few days.

Decisions will be made as quickly as possible to support the sector.