On Tuesday 21st February, Caroline Dinenage MP attended an event in Parliament hosted by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to learn more about the impact of National Lottery investment in Gosport. Caroline learned that Gosport is ranked an impressive 7th in England by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts' Heritage Index, which sets out to measure the strength of heritage at a local level across the UK. Produced in collaboration with the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Heritage Index is an annual index that combines over 120 metrics, from historic buildings to local delicacies, revealing which local authorities are best at using heritage to foster a distinctive identity. Analysis of this year's heritage index suggests that making the most of local heritage is linked with a higher quality of life.
The event was part of National Lottery in Parliament, an exhibition to raise awareness among politicians in Westminster of the National Lottery funding available to its constituencies and demonstrate how National Lottery players' money is changing people's lives and improving the nation's wellbeing.
Gosport has benefited from nearly £10 million in Heritage Lottery Funding since 1995, with money being used to support a wide range of projects. £10 000 was granted to Gosport Heritage Open Days last August to support a project exploring the effects of the First World War on the local area, and nearly £2 million was awarded in March 2015 to support the regeneration of Priddy's Hard. Importantly, many smaller, community-led groups have also benefited from Heritage Lottery Funding. For example, the Lions Club of Crofton received over £4 000 in 2007 to run a three day festival in celebration of local heritage, while organisations such as Gosport Camping Capers, Rowner South Brownies and Friends of Bridgemary Park all benefited from micro grants of up to £100.
Commenting, Caroline said:
'Gosport has such a rich history, and Heritage Lottery Funding has been invaluable in preserving this and ensuring as many people as possible are able to enjoy it. I'm thrilled Gosport is ranked so highly in the RSA's Heritage Index – this really emphasizes the fact that important heritage sites aren't limited to cities like London and Oxford.
The Heritage Lottery Event also highlighted how diverse heritage can be. It's not all about preserving old buildings, but seeks to connect people to the places they live in a wide range of exciting ways.'