Response to the Big Lottery Fund consultation on funding priorities

Funding for health, education and environment

Museums already make substantial contributions to out-of-school-hours learning, but it is clear that there is untapped potential here. We suggest that to ensure value-for-money, a substantial proportion of available funding should be focused on developing the capacity and potential of existing institutions, rather than on developing entirely new centres. Museums, libraries and other cultural and sporting facilities clearly have a role to play.

Museums can also play a part in projects relating to health and the environment. For example, some museums have pioneered education work around mental illness. And as organisations with expertise in design and an understanding of the way communities have been reshaped over time, they have the potential to contribute in imaginative ways to regeneration projects.
Finally, it is important to remember that many museums are small, grass-roots organisations, often entirely run by volunteers and deeply rooted in their communities. These smaller organisations have inevitably found it harder than larger museums to access funding but there is clearly the potential for small grants, accessed through a relatively simple process, to make a big difference to the communities these museums serve.

Transformational projects

In surveying the impact that the Lottery has had on the UK in the last 10 years, it is clear that many major capital projects have made a real and lasting difference to communities and whole regions. While it may be appropriate for the emphasis in funding now to shift to smaller projects, and revenue grants, it seems clear that there remains scope - and need -for some transformational projects. The Museums Association welcomes the BLF proposal to fund a limited number of transformational projects. We hope that some of these will have a heritage and cultural element, and see great potential for museums to work in partnership with other agencies to develop new facilities for their communities, with BLF support.

Mark Taylor