In additional to helping landscape and townscapes, money from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, funded through every National Lottery ticket you buy, is also channelled directly into volunteer groups.
Anyone can apply for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and it is a key source for many smaller volunteer groups to complete large, impactful events that would otherwise be beyond their reach.
For example, we recently got involved in a Community Archaeology project with a local volunteer group in Boston, Lincolnshire. A Community Archaeology project is one that involves the participation of volunteers in archaeological activities and can be anything from investigating, photographing, surveying and processing finds, to getting involved in an excavation. This was completed by our Archaeological Project Services team.
The Boston Hanse Group received funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to complete a community archaeological dig in Boston, to look for the Hanseatic Warehouse. The Hanse merchants were a powerful group of merchants from the medieval period and their influence is seen in port towns across Northern Europe. They oversaw Boston becoming the second wealthiest town in England, and all their goods passed through their warehouse, also known as the Hanseatic Steelyard. Despite this building being vital to understanding Boston’s heritage, it has been long lost. The Hanse Group identified a likely location and applied for funding to see if they could find proof of its existence.
We assisted the group by organising the archaeological excavation, and the volunteer experience. Through this work, 8 different schools, multiple Cub & Scout groups, and two adult learning disability groups were able to attend the dig, in addition to many other community volunteers. People were given the chance to learn new skills, meet new people and uncover the fascinating medieval past of Boston for themselves. Although we did not manage to locate the building, the quantity and quality of medieval artefacts suggests that we may have been very close!
We asked some of the volunteers about what they enjoyed the most, thanks to your support of the National Lottery:
‘’Learning about the techniques used to dig and what the finds were’’
‘’Chatting to others – it was hard work today!’’
‘’Talking with knowledgeable people’’
‘’Explanation of the finds’’
‘’Finding some medieval green glazed pottery’’
‘’Digging! It was exciting in the trench’’
‘’Not being made to feel like a novice - I was encouraged to participate’’
‘’Learning more about archaeology and finding an exciting piece of pottery of course!’’