University of Bedfordshire secures funding to lead new heritage project

The new project will explore local heritage.
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A £250,000 grant has been awarded to the University of Bedfordshire to deliver a new skills development programme to support practitioners from across Bedfordshire to promote local history and heritage.

Heritage Horizons will be led by the University’s Culture and Community Engagement team and is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to build on the learnings of the successful Heritage Enterprise Hub and Heritage Impact Accelerator programmes that were led by the University between 2021 and 2023.

Heritage Horizonswill engage 12 practitioners from Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, and Luton to deliver heritage projects across a variety of areas including nature, buildings, and culture. Participants will also receive network development support to enable them to adopt changes in their cultural practice.

Heritage HorizonsHeritage Horizons
Heritage Horizons

Jen Lewis, Project Officer leading on Heritage Horizons at the University, said: “This represents an exciting opportunity to bring previously untold narratives to the foreground of conversations about local heritage and to support individuals to realise innovative projects and outreach work across the county. The aim of the project is to increase access to funding and support, and to highlight the value of community-level heritage activity. Thank you to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their ongoing support.”

Emma Gill, Head of Culture and Community Engagement, added: “It has been a joy to develop this project, in partnership with the alumni of our former programmes as well as key heritage practitioners and organisations. We recognise the excellent work that is currently being undertaken across the county, but also the challenges for practitioners. As the University of Bedfordshire, we have a role to play in supporting the county’s heritage ecology and look forward to delivering Heritage Horizons.”

This project will be delivered by the team based within the University, regional heritage partners, and wider University colleagues. Commissioned practitioners and organisations will be on-boarded across two cohorts of six across the three-year lifespan of the project.

Robyn Llewellyn, Director of England, Midlands & East at the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “We are pleased to award £250,000 raised by National Lottery players to support the University of Bedfordshire in delivering their ambitious skills development programme. The Heritage Horizons project will support practitioners from across Bedfordshire to connect and showcase history and ensure that local voices from the community are heard across the heritage landscape.”

Applications for the first cohort of commissioned practitioners will open in May 2024. If you are interested in applying for Heritage Horizons, or learning more about the project, you can attend one of the information or drop-in sessions or contact the team via email at [email protected].