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The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) uses money raised by National Lottery players to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. HLF supports a broad range of projects including archaeology, historic buildings, ships and trains, parks and landscapes, museums, archives, rare wildlife and intangible heritage. HLF is the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK and has always tried to provide the best and most appropriate support for the organisations delivering those projects. In recognition of the challenges that arose when austerity measures first began to bite and sources of UK funding dwindled, HLF put in place a new grant scheme to help voluntary organisations to find new sustainable business models. Three years later HLF has taken the lessons learned from these capacity-building schemes and shaped a new funding programme designed to enable organisations, and the heritage sector more broadly, to achieve long-term resilience.
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Sara Crofts studied architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, where she specialised in historic building conservation, and subsequently worked for a number of architectural practices focusing on the repair and conservation of historic buildings in Edinburgh and Cumbria. She then spent 11 years working for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) where she was Deputy Director and Head of Casework. Sara also ran the SPAB’s Faith in Maintenance project – a five-year programme to provide training and support for those who maintain historic places of worship. She joined the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) as Head of Historic Environment in June 2015 and has a particular interest in architecture, industrial heritage, archaeology and place-making.