Two projects led by Boston Borough council and one led by Heritage Lincolnshire have benefited from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) support, putting heritage at the heart of the town’s development.
This latest boost for Boston adds to the cumulative impact of Heritage Lottery Fund investment in the area. Since 2013 Boston has been a priority development area for HLF and in that time 12 projects of all shapes and sizes have shared over £8m, celebrating Boston’s pubs and churches, young people and soldiers of the First World War, and a history stretching back to the Middle Ages. In the last year alone, Boston has climbed 20 places up the RSA’s Heritage Index, and is now one of only 8 local authorities in the East Midlands to have received more than the national average of HLF investment per capita.
Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “These latest grants are a fantastic demonstration of HLF’s commitment to Boston’s heritage, and a real indication of how far the town has come in the last five years. We are thrilled that our investment of over £8million of National Lottery players’ money has had such an impact. We are keen to fund even more in the area, and are encouraging local groups to get in touch about their project ideas.”
HLF-supported projects have created volunteering and training opportunities for many hundreds of local people. A project to restore the Grade I-listed St Peter and St Paul Church in Algarkirk alone created 320 formal training opportunities, and another, smaller project exploring the history of Wrangle village recruited over 250 volunteers.
Heritage also makes a major economic contribution - a 2013 HLF report showed that heritage-based tourism is now worth £26.4billion to the UK.
Cllr Peter Bedford, Leader of Boston Borough Council said: “"These awards from HLF represent another exciting step in securing the future of some important aspects of Boston's historic environment. Two of these grants will help regenerate and restore a number of important town centre Listed Buildings, whilst the other grant for the Boston Heritage Forum will endorse its position as a key decision maker in the future of Boston’s historic environment. We are extremely grateful to HLF for supporting these projects.”
Boston Townscape Heritage
Boston Borough Council has been awarded £996,000 towards the Boston Townscape Heritage award. Working together with Heritage Lincolnshire, this project will provide opportunities to significantly enhance the eastern area of the town's historic market place for the benefit of local businesses, the local community and visitors to the town. This builds on the success of a number of heritage led regeneration and public realm improvements which have already taken place thanks to HLF and Historic England support. The project will also look to involve a number of local partners in developing activities to engage the wider community to celebrate Boston's heritage, especially their recent Hanse League membership and preparations leading up to Mayflower 2020.
Boston Resilient Heritage
Boston Heritage Forum have received just under £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, for a project to strengthen governance, provide expert advice on an appropriate group structure and constitution, and consultation on which heritage projects in Boston they want to prioritise taking forward in the next 3 years. The funding will also provide masterclasses on understanding the world of fundraising and will also look to provide an introduction to raising the profile of Boston's heritage through a variety of marketing opportunities. This will provide the forum with a clear structure for operation, increased confidence in identifying sources of funding to apply for and, most importantly, some great heritage projects to pursue!
Boston Sessions House
Heritage Lincolnshire have received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, for a project to explore new and viable uses for the Boston Sessions House, a Grade II* building in Boston's' Market Place. Largely unused since it was vacated by Boston magistrates courts in 2005, this project will support and mentor the current owner to find a viable and sustainable future that saves the building, benefits Boston and contributes to the heritage led regeneration in the town.