STATEMENT ON THE FUNDING OF THE LONDON OLYMPICS 2012
Government should put its money where its mouth is on heritage
Heritage Link warned that diverting a further £90 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to pay for the London Olympics contra- dicted major Government statements in the past 10 days and threatened the realisation of the valuable tourism legacy from the 2012 Games.
The Government's announcement of the revised 2012 Olympics budget on Thursday 15th
greeted with incredulity by Heritage Link representing 81 national voluntary organisations in England. It means a raid of £90m from the HLF and comes on top of already reduced funding after 2008, when HLF's current £290m per year drops to £180m. This further reduction of £90m is the equivalent of four years' spend on small community and voluntary sector grants and the entire grant stream aimed at involved young people.
Heritage Link has so far supported the 2012 Olympics as the once in a life time opportunity to show the rest of the world what a rich and fascinating heritage Britain has, with something for everyone, not only the major sites like the Tower of London and Stonehenge but also the streetscapes and landscapes that will provide the backdrop to television coverage and enrich the experience of thousands of visitors.
The announcement also comes just a week after the Prime Minister's speech at Tate Modern when he
recognised the contribution that arts and culture make to the economy, society and to the country. In the same week, the new Heritage White Paper2
the Department for Culture Media and Sport made key statements on the value of heritage.
'The Government rightly applauds the value of heritage in one breath but in the next undermines our ability to maintain that value, by cutting essential support - the Government should put its money where its mouth is,' said John Sell, Acting Chairman of Heritage Link. 'The Government has recognised the contribution made by volunteers in ring-fencing Big Lottery money but seems to have forgotten the tens of thousand of volunteers that care for our heritage.'
'We are concerned that heritage which is the key driver for tourism in Britain will not be up to scratch in time for the Olympics and will affect the all important tourism legacy expected to bring over £2bn to the visitor economy during and after the Games.'
'We and other leading heritage or- ganisations have set out practical proposals to secure our heritage for the future, in Valuing our Heritage . We never imagined such a dire cut in HLF funding. Full implementa- tion of our proposals would begin to restore our faith in the Govern- ment's commitment to heritage but in the longer term the full funding to HLF must be restored.'
Heritage Link supports the voluntary and community sector campaign led by the National
4 published by
Council of Voluntary Organisa- tions (NCVO) that calls for Government assurance that no further raids will be made on the Lottery funds to support the 2012 Olympics.
ASHTAV is part of Heritage Link and welcomes this clear statement of the real worries that afflict the heritage sector.
But... we don’t want to be be negative, do we?
Cultural Olympiad: what can heritage offer?
History and heritage must take their place in the cultural celebrations 2008- 2012. So how can heritage and heritage or- ganisations contribute?
The Cultural Olympiad and Olympics is an opportunity to showcase the magnificent heritage of the UK to the British people, visitors and a global audience; to consolidate a sense of national pride and identity and interpret what Britishness means to us as well as to visitors and viewers. In terms of the Olympic legacy, heritage projects and initiatives could demonstrate the power of heritage led regeneration in East London and elsewhere together with related skills development and outreach work. Through taking part in the Cultural Olympiad, heritage organisations large and small can demonstrate their place in contemporary society.
Ideas on an (electronic) postcard please to illustrate how heritage and heritage organisations can contribute to the Cultural Olympiad, to
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