The DCMS Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage has awarded the Digital Skills for Heritage initiative an additional £1 million funding
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has been raising digital skills and confidence across the UK heritage sector through the Digital Skills for Heritage initiative. The initiative offers a range of resources to reflect the varying needs, locations, and sizes of heritage organisations.
With the emergence of the pandemic, professionals in the UK heritage sector had to quickly shift to remote working, adopt new digital platforms and optimise existing ones, and move essential fundraising and service delivery processes online. In the simplest sense, COVID-19 has made digital skills more necessary than ever before.
The initiative is now expanding to meet these challenges, with an additional £1 million from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage. The funding will aim to drive digital innovation and enterprise, provide answers to the most pressing concerns in the charity sector, and empower collaborative work.
The Heritage Fund surveyed over 4,000 staff, trustees, and volunteers from heritage organisations across the UK to uncover current digital capabilities, attitudes, and needs. The survey ensured that the funding met the sector’s needs.
Twelve new grants have been awarded to organisations that will respond to those needs and create a more resilient, creative future. Total funding of £1,473,500 comes from both The National Lottery and DCMS.
The Heritage Fund has awarded Charity Digital Trust £249,800 to help small- to medium-sized heritage organisations use digital to drive business resilience and success.
Charity Digital will deliver free training and events to at a minimum of 500 UK organisations later in 2021. The funding awarded to Charity Digital builds on last year’s successful Heritage Digital project, which was launched by the Heritage Alliance, a unique consortium supported by Media Trust, Charity Digital, and Naomi Korn Associates.
The project created bespoke training, online guides, and resources with the aim of upskilling the heritage sector and building digital resilience. Staff, volunteers, trustees, and freelancers associated with heritage organisations have been eligible to take part in a series of webinars, masterclasses, peer networking opportunities, and conference days, with plenty of learning opportunities already scheduled for the rest of 2021.
Heritage Digital and Charity Digital have previously worked together to cover a range of topics including generating video content, Brexit and data protection, choosing the right CRM for a heritage organisation, workshops on online security and digital fundraising, and much more.
Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture, said: “I have been really impressed by the innovative ways that heritage sites and projects have already pivoted online during the pandemic. This £1m boost from the Culture Recovery Fund will ensure that staff and volunteers have the skills they need to keep caring for the past and conserving for the future through the sector’s reopening and recovery.”
Josie Fraser, Head of Digital Policy at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Digital plays an essential role in keeping people connected to heritage. This funding from DCMS recognises its crucial value and allows us to expand our work, responding to what organisations have told us they need most – digital innovation, enterprise and collaboration skills to improve how the sector operates.”