Hannah Keddie is one of 17 young people recruited from across the UK to be one of HLF’s Heritage Ambassadors. She blogs about her experience so far.
I am a self-confessed heritage-lover. I always have been and probably always will be. I’ve spent my whole life in and out of historic buildings and museums trying to learn all I can about history and the people who shaped it. I love the sense that I get walking through old buildings. The idea that hundreds of people have walked those paths before and that history has been altered forever in the corridors you’re passing through.
At the moment, I am a Museum Studies student at UCL and have spent the past year volunteering and doing placements at as many museums and historic sites as I can, to broaden my understanding of the heritage sector. I’ve studied the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and have even been involved in some HLF-funded projects. You could say that I’m not your average young person!
Becoming a Heritage Ambassador for HLF is brilliant for me on a personal level, but I also want to shout out loud about a sector I love. I want to encourage as many young people as possible to take advantage of the fantastic learning and skill-building opportunities that heritage-based projects can provide. I know from my own experience that heritage settings offer opportunities to boost young people’s confidence through an increased sense of ownership over the projects they work on, and the responsibilities given to them.
Getting our voices heard
Through the Heritage Ambassador programme, HLF has enabled us to be heard in a world where young people continue to be underestimated. Knowing that heritage organisations across the UK want to help make this possible has made us all immensely proud of the role we’ve played in helping to advance the cause for young people in heritage.
I never dreamed that I’d be meeting up with other young people from across the country to scrutinise HLF applications, let alone be able to advise on projects that I would like to see awarded funds from the Kick the Dust programme. As an ambassador team, we have discussed and prepared presentations for the decision-making body who have awarded funding to some amazing projects across the UK. I never thought that I would be given the chance to put forward my own ideas on which projects would appeal to young people and what would be of most value to them in the long term. On 28th June, in the boardroom at HLF’s London offices, I found myself doing just that. Not only did we get to watch decision-making in action, but we got to actively contribute our thoughts and opinions on the projects being proposed for a ground-breaking new funding stream.
We prepared a lot for this, working together to develop a decision-making process amongst the Heritage Ambassadors; we graded each project and collated scores, and had lengthy debates about the merits and setbacks of each project, before creating a presentation. All this culminated in an amazing meeting of minds. On one side, the deciding body at HLF, on the other, the Heritage Ambassadors, both with the same goal: to award grants to heritage projects that will allow young people to shine across the country and encourage their voices to be heard.
A day in the office doesn’t get better than that!
Find out more about HLF’s Young Heritage Ambassadors and #KicktheDust Programme