The initiative aims to raise digital skills and confidence across the UK heritage sector, at a time when many organisations are working tirelessly to adapt to the new landscape brought about by Covid-19.
Since its launch in February, £1.5 million of National Lottery funding has been channelled into online training, workshops and other activities that have reached more than 700 organisations and over 5,500 individuals.
The £1 million government support which will increase the programme’s reach was awarded as part of the wider £92 million Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.
“I am delighted that our initiative has received funding from DCMS,” says Josie Fraser, head of digital policy at National Lottery Heritage Fund. “Since the launch of Digital Skills for Heritage we have made tangible progress in supporting heritage organisations to increase their digital confidence and abilities.”
This progress, Fraser adds, has been “especially important during the coronavirus pandemic, where these resources have helped organisations develop their use of effective digital technology, many for the first time”.
Where will the money go?
The additional funding from DCMS was secured in August and is now available to applicants. This will be administered across three areas:
- A grant of up to £250,000 to an organisation or association to provide training and support for digital innovation and enterprise as a way of preparing for a more resilient future. This will help heritage organisations emerging from the initial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to make effective use of digital within their future plans.
- Grants of up to £120,000 from a pot of £600,000 to organisations that can support open, networked and collaborative practice across the heritage community. This funding will provide support for the sector to build resilience, share expertise and make use of technology to create new digital volunteering opportunities, focusing on specific heritage topics.
- As additional funding for digital business-focused answers within a new grant that calls for organisations that can research and answer the heritage sector’s 100 most pressing and frequently asked digital questions. Grants of up to £250,000 from a total pot of £550,000 will be available for organisations to provide accessible, comprehensive and effective answers in a range of engaging forms, including ‘how to’ videos and short online courses.
“With this additional funding we will be able to expand on our successes, helping heritage organisations increase their resilience, provide new digital services and attract new members and volunteers,” Fraser concludes.