Lottery Funding for Leicester’s Heritage

Heritage sites from across Leicestershire will pitch ‘Dragons Den’-style to a panel of young people for funding

The Y are very proud to announce that a project we are leading, called Y Heritage, has been awarded £707,500 through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s pioneering new “Kick the Dust” funding programme. This project is a collaboration between key partners The Y (Leicester YMCA), and members of Leicester’s Cultural Equality Consortium. The money, raised thanks to National Lottery players, will engage young people with heritage in the city and county.

The award will fund a “Dragons Den” style practice where representatives from Leicestershire’s heritage sites and organisations can pitch for funding from a panel of young people who are considered to be disengaged with the heritage sector. This brings the heritage sector and young people together to work on a variety of projects and newly inspired re-presentations of Leicester and Leicestershire’s abundant history and heritage.

Not only has The Y provided a service to the community and supported young people for the past 135 years, it has also seen thousands of professional and amateur performers delighting audiences of Leicester in front of an Edwardian theatre backdrop that has also served as a vital space for wounded soldiers and young men in need of accommodation and medical attention. The Y’s current young residents will be part of The Y Heritage panel.



Joanna Fleetwood-Smith, Business Development Manager at The Y says “Young people involved in this project will gain skills in decision making, project management and a direct opportunity to engage with Leicester and Leicestershire’s heritage assets. What’s more, heritage organisations will have the chance to build on their skills and confidence in working and engaging with young people. Ultimately, we’re excited to see how enthusing and enabling both parties will bring our city and county heritage to life in new ways and create lasting opportunities for young people to work with and enjoy what the heritage sector has to offer”.

Danny Myers, Chair of Leicester Cultural Equality Consortium says “There are exciting opportunities now for the heritage sector to pitch for funding to re-present their organisation and receive on-going training and support to work with disengaged young people. This project will run for three years but leave a legacy for our heritage and young people.”

The funding has been awarded through ‘Kick the Dust’, a pilot funding programme from the Heritage Lottery Fund aimed at making heritage more inclusive for young people aged 11-25. At its core is a group of young Heritage Ambassadors who are on a mission to ‘stir up heritage’, and who helped advise on how the money should be allocated.

19-year-old Jaimini Solanki, Heritage Ambassador from Leicester, said: “It has been a brilliant experience learning how grants are awarded, and helping HLF to allocate £10m to projects involving more young people in heritage. I’m thrilled that The Y has won funding, as we found its plans to involve young people who wouldn’t usually get involved in heritage especially appealing. Making Leicestershire’s heritage easier to participate in for more people my age is very important to me, and I’m looking forward to seeing what exciting now opportunities the project creates for people my age.”

If you are part of a heritage organisation based in Leicester or Leicestershire and are interested in getting involved in this project we would love to hear from you.  Please contact us at [email protected] and put Y Heritage in the subject line.


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