A new programme to build the resilience of the heritage sector will be delivered by Museums Galleries Scotland, Built Environment Forum Scotland and greenspace scotland. Sector feedback has highlighted the immediate need for support and strategic investment to help heritage organisations to develop sustainable business models, improve their ways of working, and evidence the impact of their role within Scotland’s communities.

Supported by a grant of £497,300 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), the partnership will deliver an 18-month project that will provide Scotland’s heritage organisations and businesses with support through a programme of training that will build sustainability with immediate and long-term impacts on their organisations and the sector as a whole. Leadership is the overarching theme of the programme and there are four main areas of training in the programme, which have been identified through sector feedback: board development, community engagement, financial planning, and business resilience.

Organisations who are interested in participating are encouraged to fill out the Expression of Interest Survey 

MGS, BEFS, and greenspace scotland are national strategic organisations who work across all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, supporting 300 voluntary built environment groups, 407 museums and galleries, and 180 parks/greenspace organisations and groups. They have come together to deliver this project based on a legacy of shared values and previous successful partnership working. The strength of the partnership lies in the active relationships held by the organisations with and across different sectors.

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland said:

“The sector has shown remarkable resilience in adapting to changing circumstances, but after a decade of austerity and consequent public sector funding cuts, and now the impact of COVID-19, many organisations have told us that they are struggling to plan and invest to adapt to these new financial realities. We are very grateful for the investment from NLHF in this project, which enables us to work in partnership with BEFS and greenspace scotland to deliver a strategic programme that will upskill the sector in the business skills they need to support their immediate and long-term future.”

Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“Collaboration is critical in building a successful and resilient heritage sector.  I am delighted that this initiative will bring together cultural, built and natural heritage organisations to develop their business models and support capacity building.  At this challenging time our funding, which comes from people playing The National Lottery, is crucial to helping the heritage sector manage change and improve sustainability so that its role in our nation and our economy is strengthened and recognised.”

Julie Procter, Chief Executive of greenspace scotland said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated how vital our parks and greenspaces are to our health, wellbeing and communities. After a decade of austerity and budget cuts, many parks, greenspace and other heritage organisations were already facing challenges. This timely new programme of strategic training and capacity building will support the wider heritage sector to develop the skills needed to move from surviving to thriving, with sustainable and resilient business models, to ensure that Scotland’s treasured heritage is sustained and continues to benefit communities today, tomorrow and for future generations.”

Euan Leitch, Director of Built Environment Forum Scotland said:

“The unfolding economic scenario has made this resilience training ever more prescient. We look forward to working with our partner organisations in providing this stream of support to aid the sector as it works through the challenges ahead.”

The programme has committed to support up to forty organisations and upskill up to eighty people within the sector. Each attendee will be paid a bursary and travel costs to attend the programme. The programme will be delivered in line with COVID-19 guidance.

To help deliver the programme MGS and partners will recruit a Business Support Manager and Business Support Assistant in the coming months.