Organisational Sustainability National Lottery Heritage Fund
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Organisational Sustainability National Lottery Heritage Fund

Under the Heritage Fund’s 10-year strategy, Heritage 2033, there are four core investment principles which will shape their grant decisions. These are:

  • Saving heritage
  • Protecting the environment
  • Inclusion, access and participation
  • Organisational sustainability

All four investment principles must be taken into account when applying for funding.

Organisational sustainability is focused on: “Strengthening heritage to be adaptive and financially resilient, contributing to communities and economies.”

As noted on Heritage Fund’s website by 2033 they will have:

  • “Supported organisations to increase their financial and organisational sustainability by developing their commercial and digital skills and strengthening governance and leadership.
  • Supported the development of skills and capacity in the heritage sector.
  • Used our flexible funding model to embed resilience in the projects we fund.
  • Enabled the heritage sector to strengthen its contribution to economies and local communities.”

This is a critical area and it will help to create more sustainable organisations – leading to a greater legacy for future generations to enjoy.

We believe building organisational sustainability can take many forms from identifying new revenue generating opportunities through to enhancing existing earned revenue streams, exploring opportunities to enhance the ‘visitor experience’ (helping to increase repeat visits, engage with new audiences and build dwell time), building the skills and capacity of staff, volunteers and trustees, alongside evaluating delivery and governance options and exploring opportunities to work in partnership. Change and innovation isn’t without risk and there is a requirement to identify and mitigate against potential market, economic, organisation or operational risks.

Underpinning this is a need for robust and realistic market analysis and financial planning.

You can find out more about Heritage 2033 here.

How can we help?
Planning Solutions Consulting Limited works on helping creating more resilient organisations and visitor sites. Some of the projects we have worked on include:

  • Forestry England: Business plan for Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest
  • Tenby Museum and Art Gallery: Revenue generation planning and evaluation of governance options
  • South Downs National Park Authority: Business plan to support the ‘acquisition’ of Seven Sisters Country Park
  • Trafford Council: Business plan for Longford Park which secured Lottery funding (we worked in a large multi-disciplinary team)
  • National Trust: Prepared a sustainable visitor management plan for Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire
  • Hampshire County Council: Development planning across five country parks and a National Nature Reserve. Our work helped to unlock £19m in transformational funding
  • Pembrokeshire County Council: Business plan to transform Haverfordwest Castle into a flagship heritage attraction. Latterly, supported the Council on their successful Levelling Up Fund application
  • Natural England: Feasibility studies at Shapwick Heath, Castle Eden Dene and Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserves
  • Natural Resources Wales: Visitor experience masterplan for Afan Forest Park
  • East Lothian Council: Visitor management planning at key honeypot visitor sites
  • Redcar and Cleveland Council: Identified opportunities to enhance the visitor experience and build the financial resilience of Saltburn Cliff Tramway

Alongside our ‘consultancy experience’ since 1995, our sister company has been investing in and managing hospitality, visitor experience and tourism businesses. These include CONKERS a 120-acre woodland experience with two visitor centres in the National Forest, Kent Life – a 28-acre heritage farm park in Maidstone and the Cotswold Beach and Country Park along with three branded high ropes experience, a 69-bed hotel on the Isle of Wight and a brewery.  From 2010 to 2022 they also managed the National Brewery Centre (formerly the Bass Museum).

Because PSL is responsible for all aspects of managing a range of ‘businesses’ we understand different elements from set up through to staffing, maintenance, marketing, the operating model and day-to-day operations. Based on this hands-on experience we can identify constraints and success factors, including key risks and liabilities and mitigation strategies. Underlying this we understand the financial drivers (and cost centres) to help deliver long-term sustainable solutions. PSL manages the sites on behalf of different owners e.g. Trusts, local authorities and the private sector.

As a consultancy team we have direct access to ‘live-time trading information’ as well as the expertise of our operations team. We have found that this practical hands-on operational experience helps to create a significant positive impact and brings a strong commercial realism to projects. We understand the challenges faced by operators of visitor sites and heritage businesses and how to develop projects which are commercially viable, meet the needs of the visitor and community and respond to other needs such as education, learning, volunteering and contributing towards placemaking and the local economy. We have faced the challenges presented by COVID and now are facing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and the Net Zero journey.

If you would like to talk about a potential project or idea, feel free to call or email Richard Linington (07866 742628 –