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    The HLF's impact on local learning opportunities

    I'm currently working on the learning component of a couple of HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) applications for Dorset organisations and and it has made me think about the impact that HLF funding has on the learning opportunities available to schools. 

    The Heritage Lottery Fund is an organisation that uses money raised by National Lottery players to help people across the UK 'explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about'. Since 1994, £7.7billion has been awarded to over 42,000 projects, including projects such as restoring natural landscapes and neglected buildings, recording community histories, funding exhibitions and galleries and providing heritage-related training. 

    Many HLF grants are awarded on the proviso that applications include a strong learning component, which means that organisations have to develop detailed plans to provide formal and informal learning activities as part of their core business. Take, for example, a small village hall badly in need of funds to facilitate a repair and improvement programme to make the hall more usable for the local community. The building was originally constructed to house a school, which educated local village children until the 1970's. It retains many original features and is a charming old schoolroom. It has never been used for educational purposes before but now, to meet HLF learning requirements, plans are underway to include a formal learning programme in the HLF application which, if successful, could enable schools to visit the hall for an immersive 'Victorian school' experience. 

    The HLF's commitment to promoting learning links to their belief that 'understanding, valuing and sharing our heritage brings people together, inspires pride in communities and boosts investment in local economies'. By funding heritage-related projects, the HLF enables many organisations to develop or improve their educational programmes, allocating money to fund high-quality staff with the expertise to run learning sessions, to develop excellent curriculum-linked programmes and to purchase relevant learning resources. As a result, there is a wider range of heritage-linked school visit destinations available to schools and teachers can be secure in the knowledge that, if they book a school visit to a HLF-funded organisation, they will experience well-planned, expertly delivered learning sessions.

    About Kuloko

    Kuloko is the network for organisations, businesses and individuals who offer local learning opportunities to schools. We support providers to collaborate, network, share good practice and keep up to date to ensure high quality learning experiences for local children.