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The Heritage Revolution

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM.- Heritage organisations across the country have come together to celebrate a heritage revolution, largely due to £3billion of lottery investment. A new report published on the 15th Dec 2004 also shows how the heritage sector, including private owners and thousands of passionate volunteers, has helped transform the historic environment into a powerful force for social and economic renewal. But the report also warns that this cannot be taken for granted – more needs to be done to realise the potential of heritage in the modern world and ensure its survival for future generations.

Heritage Counts 2004, the annual report on the state of England’s historic environment, is published by English Heritage on behalf of the heritage sector and reflects the enormous enthusiasm for the historic environment from the general public.

Sir Neil Cossons, Chairman of the Heritage Forum, said: “Poll after poll shows that people care about England’s unique legacy of historic places and landscape. There has never been a better time to capitalise on public opinion. I urge the Government to take notice of the extent of public enthusiasm, and give heritage a central place on its agenda. If you sideline heritage you sideline the nation’s soul.”

Sir Neil continued: “There have been real achievements in the care and protection of the historic environment in recent years, spurred by £3 billion investment by the Heritage Lottery Fund. More importantly, the heritage sector has transformed the way it thinks. Our definition of heritage is now much broader, and we are more aware of the way it impacts on our daily lives. And as organisations we are far better able to exploit the potential of heritage to bring communities together and promote active citizenship through educational and outreach programmes.”

Benefits to people and places - Liz Forgan, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “We know how much people value what we fund, from city parks to seaside towns. We’re very proud that our funding is helping ordinary people and experts to open up and look at heritage in new ways. But we can’t be complacent as there is still so much to be done. Lottery funding will be essential in delivering this.”

Heritage Counts 2004 shows that this 10-year revolution has benefited people across the country. It contains many other examples of heritage investment that have produced remarkable social and economic benefits, such as bringing new vitality, job opportunities and income to run-down places. Around 40% of Heritage Fund Lottery (HLF) awards go to deprived communities.

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