The funding body is canvassing views on the direction it should take in the future

Duthie Park
Duthie Park

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is holding a consultation on what its priorities should be from 2013 to 2019.

It is in the enviable position of expecting a budget increase of around £300 million during that six-year period, due to a rise in its share of Lottery funding.

The HLF has set up an online questionnaire, and will ask various heritage and community groups for their views.

It plans to set out a range of proposals that will be considered by respondents as part of the consultation process.

Issues up for debate range from topics such as climate change to how to make the most of digital media.

Varied responsibilities
The HLF has a wide remit, covering things like museums, parks and archaeology, and has backed more than 30,000 projects with £4.5 billion in funding to date.

It is hoping to increase the number of local authorities applying for park grants – 36% have never approached the HLF for a grant even though it is thought that most will have parks that fit the criteria.

Parks that have benefited include Telford Town Park in Shropshire, which received £2.1 million from HLF and BIG, and Duthie Park in Aberdeen that has a confirmed grant of £2.5 million from HLF.

Drew Bennellick, head of Landscape at HLF, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund knows people are passionate about their local parks and wants to hear their opinions on how we can best look after them in the future.

“These are challenging times for people involved in looking after our much-loved parks and gardens. We, like them, are committed to protecting these green spaces and look forward to hearing people’s views over the next three months.”

The HLF has also identified cemeteries as an area that could need funding and want to encourage more and better quality applications for grants in the future.

Challenges and opportunities
Chair of HLF Dame Jenny Abramsky said: “These are turbulent times and heritage organisations across the UK are facing both challenges and opportunities.

“We know that heritage can play an important role in economic recovery and the future of the nation and we will have significantly more money to invest than has been available in recent years – we need to make sure we make the most of it.”

The HLF strategy for 2013-2019 will be published in spring next year.

The questionnaire can be found on the HLF website and runs until April 26 2011.

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