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UK Charity Makes Largest Private Pledge to Heritage Skills Training in History

UK Charity Makes Largest Private Pledge to Heritage Skills Training in History

Today, UK charity, the Hamish Ogston Foundation has announced nearly £29million in crucial funding to heritage skills training in the UK and around the Commonwealth, marking the largest private commitment to the cause in history. The funding is designed to help bring the sector back from the brink of a decades-long global heritage skills shortage which is threatening historic buildings and places around the world.

This new funding is granted to four organisations, English Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, Commonwealth Heritage Forum and Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship, and will support a complete range of training, from hands-on practical craft skills to strategy building, administration and financial planning for projects to preserve and protect historic buildings around the world.

Up to 2,700 heritage conservation apprentices and trainees will be financed by these latest grants from the Hamish Ogston Foundation. 19 commonwealth nations stretching across five continents will benefit from the funding, from Fiji and Bermuda to Pakistan and Ghana.

Under the instruction of heritage conservation experts, the trainees will learn the centuries-old techniques required to maintain and repair historic buildings across these nations including stonemasonry, carpentry, joinery and flint knapping.

Some of the identified buildings which will benefit from this new wave of funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation include England’s Canterbury Cathedral and Bury St Edmunds Abbey Church Ruins and Abbey Gate, the Herbarium at the Botanic Gardens in Kolkata, India, and New Zealand’s Christchurch Cathedral.

The Hamish Ogston Foundation is a UK-based grant making organisation supporting third party projects in relation to health, heritage and music in the UK and abroad. The organisation is headed by former businessman, now philanthropist, Hamish Ogston CBE who has bequeathed his entire fortune to his Foundation. 

A total of £43 million has now been committed by the Hamish Ogston Foundation to heritage skills training, which is financing the training up to 3,300 heritage conservation apprentices and trainees globally. The Foundation’s existing collaborations are with some of the world’s best-known heritage conservation charities, including Historic England, National Trust, The Prince’s Foundation and the World Monuments Fund.

By funding heritage initiatives, it is Hamish Ogston’s goal to create financial sustainability in the heritage conservation sector, encouraging others to join the movement to protect historic buildings around the world for the enjoyment, benefit and appreciation of generations to come.

Hamish Ogston, CBE, Founder of the Hamish Ogston Foundation said:

“A sustainable, future-facing ecosystem of heritage conservation expertise is what is needed to solve the chronic skills shortages and gaps in the heritage sector, and to ensure the survival of some of the greatest historic buildings around the world.

“With this new funding, we hope to establish such an ecosystem, so that more young people, no matter who they are or where they come from, can access the unique opportunity of a career in heritage conservation through one of our skills training programmes. We aim to inspire the industry and to establish a coherent and accessible training infrastructure for those looking to learn skills in heritage conservation.”

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