How magnificent Leeds Victoria Hall will return to its former glory with £ 250,000 in lottery funding
At the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we don’t define heritage – we ask people to tell us why something is part of their heritage and therefore is important to them.
From the rich industrial past of the North to its magnificent historic buildings, fantastic natural landscapes and diverse social histories, we support what is loved while transforming people’s lives.
Whether it’s multi-million pound funding such as £ 9.9million for the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool or more modest prizes, such as the £ 250,000 that we announced today to restore the magnificent Victorian decor of Victoria Hall in Leeds, we are helping to protect and preserve the heritage of the North. in a way that goes way beyond the projects themselves.
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We are investing in skills and training, improving education, forging relationships to work for the greater good of the region and, most importantly, building cultural trust. It’s all part of our commitment to inspire, lead and revitalize the UK’s heritage.
As one of the distributors of National Lottery Funding for Good Causes, the National Lottery Heritage Fund is the UK’s largest heritage funder.
Over the past 25 years, we have invested over £ 8.4 billion in over 49,000 heritage projects. That includes £ 1.9bn in the North across 11,888 projects – and it’s not over yet.
I was delighted to visit several projects around Leeds and South Yorkshire this week with our board. who gathered at the beautiful Piece Hall in Halifax.
This Georgian architectural masterpiece and its place in the region’s commercial history has been saved thanks to £ 19million funding from the National Lottery. What was once close to being abandoned now attracts visitors from all over the world.
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In Leeds, we are working in partnership with Historic England, Leeds City Council and private developers, to transform Lower Kirkgate. Thanks to £ 1.5million support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, historic storefronts have been revitalized and historic First White Cloth Hall restored, giving new life to the city’s oldest street.
We entered the Leeds City Museum to see how the National Lottery’s long-standing investment has created a fun, interactive, family-friendly museum that thrills visitors of all ages as they browse the collections of national significance exhibited.
We then traveled to the Dearne Valley in South Yorkshire, to see the impact our funding had on turning a polluted industrial site into a wildlife refuge. At RSPB Old Moor and the Garganey Trust’s Broomhill Flash, rare birds such as bittern and over 2,000 species of breeding waders draw visitors to land once used for charcoal.
Thanks to our investment in the Back from the Brink project, work to help the survival of other rare species, such as the willow tit, is being undertaken by the local Wildlife Trust.
From the small species to the vast landscape of the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership, the National Lottery Heritage Fund inspires organizations to work together to create something greater than the sum of its parts – boosting the recovery of nature in the North.
Funding for the National Lottery has been and continues to be essential in helping many organizations meet the challenges of the pandemic. We also distribute government funds as a lifeline for those most affected.
Leeds Hyde Park Picture House is able to undertake a £ 2.6million renovation to increase its financial resilience, generate more income and create community spaces with funding from the Government’s Culture Revival Fund.
Government emergency financial assistance programs during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as the Culture Recovery Fund and the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, have bolstered the assistance we have provided through our own fund. Heritage emergency funded by the £ 50million National Lottery.
In total, we have issued nearly 500 awards for supporting Covid-19 in the North, providing more than £ 58million in aid.
Our Northern team worked hard with existing grant recipients to help organizations adapt and respond to the pandemic, providing our support and expert advice when heritage organizations needed it most.
The message I heard repeated throughout our visit this week is the importance of collaboration. Through greater collaboration between cultural, community and civic organizations, we can better tackle issues such as poverty and inequality, employment, education and health.
I have seen the power of heritage as an engine for positive social and economic change, supporting communities that stand to gain so much from getting involved.
As we emerge from the pandemic, heritage is at the heart of a shared reflection that helps create better places to live, work and visit.