COMMUNITIES across Wales can now apply for a grant of between £3,000 and £10,000 to celebrate their local heritage.

Cadw – the Welsh Government’s historic environment service and the Heritage Fund in Wales are teaming to offer another round of the’15-Minute Heritage’ programme.

This is the second year the programme is running in Wales and it is based on a concept called the 15 minute city where everyone should be able to meet most of their needs within just a short walk or cycle from their home.

The aim of the capital grant programme is to support projects that help to connect communities with the heritage on their doorstep so that local people can benefit from it and it can fund the buying of, upgrading and maintaining of equipment; furnishings; fixtures; land and buildings and also digital projects such as creating apps or websites.

In 2020, 84 projects in each of Wales’ 22 local authority areas- from Anglesey to Aberdare; from Goodwick to Gwynfi, received a ’15-Minute Heritage’ grant.

We are surrounded by heritage

Commenting on the launch of the ’15-Minute Heritage’ grants, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport Dawn Bowden said:

“In Wales we are surrounded by heritage, not just in our museums, castles and historic structures, but in anything that inspires a sense of belonging.

“Whether it’s through empowering volunteers with new skills, enabling people to engage with their local heritage in new and accessible ways, or providing opportunities for groups and individuals who are sometimes harder to reach, each successful project will deliver benefits to communities nationwide.

“That’s why I’m so very pleased that Cadw is once again collaborating with the Heritage Fund to help communities explore, celebrate and share their local heritage stories.”

Staying closer to home during lockdown

Cadw and the Heritage Fund in Wales first teamed up in 2020 to launch the ’15-Minute Heritage’ programme in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was when many of us were staying closer to home because of lockdown.

The grant programme helped people strengthen the connections they had with their surrounding community through ideas such as creating new walking trails and sharing stories about the place they called home.

Heritage is for everyone

Andrew White, director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said:

“It’s a pleasure to be working to be working with Cadw again to launch the ‘!5-Minute Heritage’ grant programme, which proved to be so incredibly popular last year.

“Heritage is for everyone and local heritage – whether that’s a building, a landmark, a nature reserve or even our local shop, helps to create and shape our communities.

“I’m hoping we can support even more communities across Wales to connect with their heritage again this year and I would encourage anyone who want to explore and re-discover their local area and who maybe has never applied for one or our grants before – to apply for one of our ’15-Minute Heritage’ grants.”

For details about how to apply for a ’15-Minute Heritage’ grant, please visit https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/funding

Some of the projects funded by the ’15-Minute Heritage’ grant programme in 2020:

ANGLESEY – Amlwch Town Council’s ‘Heritage Trail Amlwch’ project

On Anglesey,  Amlwch Town Council’s ‘Heritage Trail Amlwch’ project had £8,800 which it used to create a heritage trail in Amlwch.  It installed recycled plastic benches that each represented a local historical person, industry, landmark, or shipwreck. The story of Amlwch’s heritage can also be viewed on a website by using QR codes on the benches. Speaking in 2020 Liz Wood,  Chairwoman of Amlwch Town Council said: “It is important to the community of Amlwch that our heritage is not forgotten. Our younger generation will learn of our past from the elder generation that lived through these times but in a current day technological way that our youngsters understand.” 

CONWY – Conwy County Borough Council’s ‘What did the Romans ever do for us in Conwy?’ project

In North West Wales, Conwy County Borough Council’s ‘What did the Romans ever do for us in Conwy?’ project received £10,000.  Over the course of five months, the project worked with local schools to tell the story of the Romans in Conwy and used animation and an app to do this. The app’s QR codes linked to information about the fort of Canovium in the village of Caerhun and a film about the archaeologist who unearthed the Roman amphora jars in Rhos on Sea. The school children who took part in ‘What did the Romans ever do for us in Conwy?’ were also able to visit the Conwy Cultural Centre and the site of the fort at Canovium.

DENBIGHSHIRE – Menter Iaith Sir Ddinbych’s ‘Bocs Trysor Sir Ddinbych’ project

In North East Wales, Menter Iaith Sir Ddinbych won £9,600 funding for its ‘Bocs Trysor Sir Ddinbych (Denbighshire’s Treasure Box)’ project. This innovative digital project uses Lego, animation, Minecraft and online networking to teach children, young people, and their families about local heritage from hillforts to castles. The project mainly works through the medium of Welsh, but provides bilingual options for Welsh learners and recently ran workshops for refugees in Rhyl. ‘Bocs Trysor Sir Ddinbych’ also provides a bilingual information pack for people attending workshops to encourage them to visit heritage sites on their doorstep.

NEATH PORT TALBOT – The Friends of Neath Abbey Iron Company’s ‘Dial H for Heritage: Neath Abbey’s history explained’ project

In Neath Port Talbot, the Friends of Neath Abbey Iron Company’s ‘Dial H for Heritage: Neath Abbey’s history explained’ project received £9,300. They converted an old BT telephone kiosk into a heritage centre to tell the story of Neath Abbey.  Speaking in 2020, Peter Richards of the Friends of Neath Abbey Iron Company said: “Covid has really affected our community, and increased interest in the Neath Abbey Ironworks. People have visited locally, rather than travelling. Information boards will provide essential facts, and online knowledge will be available. School classes – unable to visit, will be challenged digitally to produce artworks of the ironworks.”

PEMBROKESHIRE – Cilgerran Community Council’s Community Interest Company’s ‘O’r Castell i’r Corwg (From the Castle to the Coracle)’ project

In Pembrokeshire, Cilgerran Community Council’s Community Interest Company’s ‘O’r Castell i’r Corwg (From the Castle to the Coracle)’ project was awarded £9,700. They used the funding to  create a link and interpretation pathway between Cilgerran Castle and the River Teifi. “The ‘O’r Castell i’r Corwg’ project really does capture the natural environment and unique heritage of the community of Cilgerran”, said County Councillor John Davies in 2020. “It will allow the inhabitants and those visiting to appreciate the special qualities of Cilgerran as an historic village which is influenced by its commanding castle and the splendour of the deep-rooted tradition of coracle fishing.”

POWYS- The Josef Herman Art Foundation Cymru Trust Limited’s ‘Josef Herman in Ystradgynlais Heritage Trail’

In Ystradgynlais, The Josef Herman Art Foundation Cymru Trust Limited received a £9,900 grant for its ‘Josef Herman in Ystradgynlais Heritage Trail’ project. The trail celebrates the life and work of the Jewish artist and refugee Josef Herman, who found sanctuary in Ystradgynlais after fleeing Warsaw during the Second World War. Herman is renowned as an artist that documented everyday life for the miners, farmers and metal workers that lived in Ystradgynlais. The route begins at the Welfare Miners Hall which is now home to the Foundation and a collection of more than 150 of Herman’s original works.