Local economy guidance

Local economy guidance

Visitors in a museum
This guidance is designed to help you meet our outcome: how your project can boost your local economy.

Heritage contributes to local economies throughout the UK. As the UK addresses the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on local economies, we want heritage to play its part.

The money you spend through your project and the people you attract to your local area generate money for local businesses and support local jobs.

What we mean by “the local economy will be boosted”

Your project will generate more income for local businesses and there will be more local businesses in the area. Jobs will be created or sustained in the wider economy.

Examples of actions you can take include:

  • Procuring supplies and the services from the local area, including in other industries such as construction or food and drink.
  • Attracting visitor and tourists to the local area who spend money with local businesses.
  • Providing premises for new businesses that move into the area, creating new jobs and further investment.

Look at how your project could contribute to your local economic development plans. This could include plans to grow the visitor economy or the area’s culture offer.

There are a range of economic partnerships for example Local Enterprise Partnerships in England, Regional Economic Partnerships in Scotland and City and Growth Deals across the UK.

Top tips

Be realistic about the direct impact of your project – don’t over claim for the direct difference your project will make.

Find information about your local economy from the local authority, economic development agency or tourism organisation.

Define the geographical scope – this could be your local authority area, county and/or region.

Look at the period of time over which your project is expected to make economic impacts – this can be long term.

Think about how your supply chains and purchasing decisions contribute to your local economy, including the jobs, apprenticeships and other training opportunities they provide.

Only choose to address this outcome if you are clear about the direct impact your project will have.

Bear in mind that the difference your project makes to the local economy will depend on its size and scope.

Showing how your project can contribute to your local economy can unlock other funding.

The value an industry creates for the economy is often measured by GVA (Gross Value Added). This can be a useful measurement to use.

Decide how you are going to assess your impact. There are some resources below that provide advice and resources.

Further reading and resources

Guide: Getting the most out of economic impact. This guide by The Audience Agency for arts organisations is also useful for heritage organisations.

Measuring the contribution of culture and sport to local economy, Local Government Association. Ideas to help you create an outcome framework for an economic impact.

Heritage and the Economy 2019, Historic England. This summarises the findings from studies on heritage and economic activity and brings up to date the Heritage Economic Indicators 2019.

Heritage Index 2020, RSA, The National Lottery Heritage Fund. A unique tool designed to support data-led decision making on heritage at the local level. The Index shows where there is potential for local areas to make much more of their heritage in developing local economic, cultural and social strategies.

Visit Britain nation, region and county tourism data.

Project examples