FUNDING OF WAR MEMORIALS

Posted on November 30, 2011 by


Funding of War Memorials

NESA representitive for the South of England – John Stevens, who, concerned about the state of British war memorials and the lack of funding for their maintenance and upgrade wrote to his local MP, Simon Kirby. He has received the following reply from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, in regard to his enquiry:

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Department of Culture, Media and Sport, John Penrose MP, Minister for Tourism and Heritage

3 November 2011

Dear Simon

Thank you for you e-mail of 20 September, enclosing a letter from your constituent who would like to see some Lottery funding allocated to upgrade war memorials in time for the centenary, in 2014, of the outbreak of the First World War.

I should start by saying that politicians – rightly – are kept at arm’s length from decisions about which projects should or shouldn’t receive Lottery funds. That’s the role of independent distributing bodies, who work at arm’s length from the Government. That said, I’m delighted to tell [Mrs Stevens] that, since its inception, Lottery grants totalling over £17.5 million, have been allocated to projects relating to war memorials, and that the Heritage Lottery Fund will be contacting MPs soon to advise them that constituents can apply for Lottery funding for projects relating to the First World War.

[Mr Steven] might also like to check the following website for more information:

www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

Of course, the Government commends any initiative that commemorates the sacrifices of those who served in HM Armed Forces and died in the service of their country. However, we don’t have responsibility to fund or maintain local memorials, and it has been the policy of successive Governments that new memorials are normally funded through private initiatives. The promoters of a memorial usually set up a Charitable Trust, identify a site and commission a designer, raise the necessary finance and obtain the appropriate consents from the relevant local planning authority.

Although the protection of war memorials is not covered by law, there are a number of possible funding and information avenues available to the people and organisations vested with that responsibility.

[Mr Stevens] may be interested to know of the Memorials Grant Scheme. It is an interim grant scheme, which returns, in grant aid, the amount of VAT incurred on the construction, renovation and maintenance of eligible memorials, although it is somewhat limited in scope. More information can be found on the Scheme website:

www.memorialgrant.org.uk

The War Memorials Trust runs grant schemes for the repair and conservation of war memorials, and more information can be found [at] its website:

www.warmemorials.org

Other organisations, such as the UK National Inventory of War Memorials, also do good work with their efforts to promote the appreciation, use and preservation of war memorials.

It is to be hoped that the forthcoming centenary of the outbreak of the First World War will raise awareness about the condition of our war memorials. DCMS Ministers and officials will be holding discussions with colleagues across Whitehall, particularly in the Ministry of Defence, about how the centenary may best be commemorated. We will also be working with other interested parties, such as the Imperial War Museum, to develop a co-ordinated approach to ensure that the centenary is given the highest possible profile and the prominence it deserves.

Yours sincerely

John Penrose MP / Minister for Tourism and Heritage

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