Youngsters help allocate lottery grants to heritage projects that engage 11-25-year-olds
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Youngsters help allocate lottery grants to heritage projects that engage 11-25-year-olds

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Initially we only wanted to involve them with awarding the grants, but it became more than that.
– Jo Reilly

Greater diversity and inclusivity in the heritage sector, and more jobs aimed at young people without a degree – these were on the wishlist of 16 young people from the UK that sat upon a National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) panel in 2018.

The panel was created in April 2018 to help decide upon funding decisions for the NLHF’s Kick the Dust initiative, which is designed to create high quality, sustainable heritage projects that will engage 11 to 25-year-olds. However, the “Dustkickers”, as the young people soon christened themselves, had rather more to say for themselves and their age group than had first been anticipated.

“It was an unexpected pleasure in how it developed,” said Jo Reilly, head of participation and learning at NLHF. “Initially we only wanted to involve them with awarding the grants, but it became more than that. They got involved with social media and other events, including taking an exhibit about the campaign to Parliament, and hosting a Heritage Soapbox Day with speakers.”

The Dustkickers’ discussions gave rise to three main themes, with those noted above (heritage being more inclusive and more proactive in engaging with the BAME, disabled and LGBT markets; and more paid opportunities in heritage not requiring a degree for young people) being joined by a strong feeling that young people should be more closely involved in co-producing projects.

“Although they agreed on those points, they were a diverse group who tended to champion different things,” Reilly continued. “Some were passionate about green space and climate change, others about offering opportunities to young working class people. They debated very seriously and we were struck by the quality of their discussions and the responsibility they showed for their task.”

The end result of their deliberations was the award of funding grants to a dozen heritage projects around the UK through the Kick the Dust initiative. The group also became involved in selecting the committee that will evaluate the success of the 12 programmes chosen.

Reilly has been impressed, saying that the 16 Dustkickers displayed a "sensible, analytical approach". She added: "Two of the 12 projects were chosen because they succeeded in turning around the view of the room. It was a heartwarming project to be involved with."

To read more about Kick the Dust, see the latest issue of Attractions Management here.

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Greater diversity and inclusivity in the heritage sector, and more jobs aimed at young people without a degree – these were on the wishlist of 16 young people from the UK that sat upon a National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) panel in 2018.
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