In July, two significant sources of heritage funding in the U.K. and Poland released details of upcoming changes to their strategies. The news from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Polish government means historic sites in both countries will have access to vital funding for preservation, development and operation.

Below is an overview of these changes and how the news might support exciting new heritage projects in the U.K. and Europe.

National Lottery Heritage Fund: Heritage 2033

The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) has outlined the initial steps of its Heritage 2033 strategy.

Over the next three years, NLHF intends to allocate £870 million through National Lottery Grants for Heritage, with an additional £140 million dedicated to strategic initiatives. NLHF will partner with the U.K. and Welsh governments to administer more than £43 million in government funding from 2023–2024. By 2026, the funding initiatives will total up to £1 billion.

The strategy updates encompass several significant changes. The first is an increased upper limit for National Lottery Grants for Heritage, which has been raised to £10 million. Announced earlier this year, the increase is in response to feedback from stakeholders, which informed NLHF that financial resilience is a critical factor for supporting heritage. With the cost of living crisis, energy prices, inflation, supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine all increasing costs for operating and developing sites, this news is unsurprising.

Respondents also indicated the NLFH process could be more straightforward, so applications for grants from £10,000 to £10 million are now more accessible.

In addition to raising the upper limit, the lower grant threshold will rise to £10,000 from January 2024. The NLHF is still exploring options to deliver grants below £10,000.

The first nine out of 20 locations for NLHF's investment through its Place initiative are expected to be announced in the autumn, and details of the Nature Cities and Towns initiative for urban nature recovery will be released later in the year.

Overall, it seems that Heritage 2033 will simplify the application process and allow sites the space for more ambition. Let's hope support for smaller sites and projects is soon to follow!

Poland's Monument Restoration Program

In late 2022, the Polish Government announced a 'Polish Deal for Culture', a monument restoration program designed to fund the preservation and restoration of local monuments to make them attractive tourist destinations.

Now, the groundbreaking initiative is entering its implementation phase. In July 2023, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, alongside Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr Gliński, announced that nearly 5,000 projects would receive funding amounting to over PLN 2.5 billion (approximately £485 million) in the first stage of the program.

The primary objective of this program is to restore local monuments and create tourist destinations at the sites. It aims to preserve the rich heritage of Poland and prevent the deterioration of historical landmarks scattered across the country. The restoration efforts will cover various sites, including palaces, manor houses, churches, railway stations, public buildings, schools, and hospitals.

Minister Gliński highlighted the significance of memory and tradition at these monuments, reinforcing the importance of preserving Polish identity and culture. He also emphasized the government's commitment to allocating significant funds for cultural endeavours, signalling a substantial increase compared to previous administrations.

The Polish Government has been actively supporting the protection and preservation of monuments with its PLN 1.24 billion Historic Preservation Programme between 2016 and 2023, expanding the list of Historic Monuments.

The program has already garnered considerable interest, with over 20,000 project proposals worth over PLN 11 billion received. Further stages are planned, with an additional PLN 3 billion (over £580 million) allocated for Polish monuments over the next three years.

In 2023, we began tracking several major capital projects at Polish monuments. To find out more, visit our Opportunities.