Over £245,000 National Lottery grant for Wakefield district

Thursday, February 15, 2024

We have secured a £245,623 grant to get more people and communities involved in activities and events that celebrate the district’s heritage.
The external funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund is for ‘Our Heritage, Our Stories’. The project aims to transform how the Council, partners, and the community work together to increase involvement in heritage. By telling the stories of people and places.
The launch of the project comes as part of Our Year - Wakefield District 2024. The exciting 366-day programme of physical activity, cultural and heritage activity that is taking place across the Wakefield District.

“We are so pleased to have secured this external funding. It brings many exciting opportunities to work together with communities, groups, and partners to deliver an exciting range of activities across our communities.

"It will also help to build a longer-term legacy for how we celebrate our district’s diverse heritage.”

Cllr Michelle Collins

Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport

Cllr Michelle Collins

Paul Cartwright, Chair of Pontefract Civic Society, said: "Pontefract Civic Society was engaged from day one with the Heritage Framework, and I’m so pleased to hear the Heritage Lottery Fund news which will benefit all of Wakefield District.

"People in places like Pontefract, Castleford, Horbury and Ossett are proud of their own heritage and identity, and there’s many more untold stories which can now be brought to life, complementing the history of Wakefield and other towns and villages."
Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are thrilled to support Wakefield Council with this project, which thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will mean that more people will be able to get involved with the exciting heritage right on their doorstep.

"It is fantastic to know that through this creative programme of activity, that will complement the ‘Our Year’ celebrations, local people will have the opportunity to better understand their history and help others discover their own.”
Kevin Trickett, President of Wakefield Civic Society, said: “I am delighted to learn that Wakefield is to receive this grant to support heritage development across the district. The funding will help the local community to explore the district’s rich heritage in the widest sense.

 “We have a great many stories to tell. The grant will enable them to be studied and brought to life. In part, it will involve using modern digital technology so that knowledge can be shared widely and be easily accessible.”
Our Heritage - Our Stories runs from this April to March 2026.  The funding, that is made possible by National Lottery players and can only be spent on this project, will involve working with young people, communities and heritage groups, in the coming months and years.
Exciting plans includes showcasing the amazing work of local heritage groups during WordFest in May, which celebrates the written and spoken word. A series of events will take place across the district’s libraries and museums throughout May involving organisations and heritage groups running displays, activities and talks to the public.
The funding from the Heritage Fund will also support the development of a new Heritage Portal website, to connect and showcase the district’s heritage to help engage with new audiences. 
The Heritage Portal website will act like a ‘one-stop shop’ for anyone interested in learning more about the district’s heritage. It will provide information and opportunities, promotion of events, activities and heritage groups, downloadable learning and other resources and much more.  It will be a place where our communities can narrate their own stories and local heritage groups can have a digital home.
There will also be support to develop Heritage Open Days during Our Year to help celebrate our incredible built heritage across the district. This will involve working alongside civic societies to promote access to the district’s hidden or incredible heritage buildings.
There will be new digital commissions by local creatives, and involving younger residents, to be displayed at Wakefield Exchange at the end of 2024, as well as other venues across the district.
Our Year – Wakefield District 2024 is a partnership celebration, led by Wakefield Council. It is a year-long programme of breathtaking spectacles, unique festivals, major events, and community-led activities that celebrate all the Wakefield district has to offer.
It will be a catalyst for inward investment, a boost to the visitor economy and vitally, an opportunity for people across the district to get involved in the region’s unique culture and experience the positive role creativity plays in their community.
For further information, follow Our Year on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund:
As the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future as set out in our strategic plan, Heritage 2033. 
Over the next ten years, the Heritage Fund aims to invest £3.6billion raised for good causes by National Lottery players to bring about benefits for people, places and the natural environment.  
The Heritage Fund helps protect, transform and share the things from the past that people care about, from popular museums and historic places, our natural environment and fragile species, to the languages and cultural traditions that celebrate who we are. 
The Heritage Fund is passionate about heritage and committed to driving innovation and collaboration to make a positive difference to people’s lives today, while leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.  
 Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund  www.heritagefund.org.uk.

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