Northamptonshire Black History Project was funded by HLF. Photo credit: Mark Chilvers

HLF launches new funding programme

Rebecca Atkinson, 04.04.2012
All Our Stories will fund local heritage research
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has launched a £1m small grant programme to help organisations and local communities research their heritage and share their findings with others.

All Our Stories grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 are available to a wide range of organisations, including community groups, heritage organisations and charities. The deadline for applications is 31 July and successful organisations will be contacted in October.

Carole Souter, chief executive of the HLF, said: “All Our Stories presents a fantastic opportunity for everyone to get involved with their heritage, from discovering the history of their town or street to learning about community traditions and customs. We are looking forward to seeing what people will uncover about their past and what they learn about who they are and where they’ve come from.”

The scheme has been developed to support a new BBC 2 series, The Great British Story – A People’s History.  All Our Stories will also feature in five BBC Learning events at flagship heritage locations, which will be run in tandem with the TV series, to get people involved with their local heritage.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is also funding research support for community groups interested in exploring their heritage through these grants.

Researchers from 21 universities and other educational organisations will be available to support community projects from the application process through to the research itself.

Rick Rylance, chief executive of the AHRC, said: “The combination of communities exploring their own heritage alongside academic researchers in an equal relationship is a powerful one indeed.

"This initiative shows how two very different sectors can come together to explore something of central importance to all of us – what our communities are and where they have come from.”

Big society

The launch of the new fund came as a new phase of the big society initiative was unveiled by David Cameron.

The prime minister announced a new financial institution called Big Society Capital, which will fund charities, community groups and social enterprises that prove they can repay the investment through the income they generate.

The fund aims to fill the gap between donations and loans, with many organisations unable to borrow from high-street banks.

Mick Hurd, the minister for civil society, said: “This is a time when we need to be doing more to back our social entrepreneurs. The social investment market is embryonic but it is real and we intend to grow it.”

A total of £600m funding will be available through Big Society Capital, of which £400m comes from money left in dormant bank accounts and £200m is from four high-street banks: Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland.