Group for Education in Museums Press Release

GEM has received £37,400 of National Lottery support to help address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on heritage

GEM has received £37,400 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to support and upskill many hundreds of heritage professionals and museums/heritage sites throughout the UK as part of the re-opening and recovery of the sector.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown began GEM has been supporting members digitally through informative webinars and pivoting the training programme to be delivered online. Education Skills Sharing Sessions on Twitter connected hundreds of educators across the world in sharing best practice as well as challenges. GEM’s One to One Mentoring Programme was also launched during this time, which has supported 50+ mentees and continues with support from volunteer mentors.

Additionally, GEM provided support to our freelance colleagues through offering a free 1-year membership and complimentary supplier listing to all eligible applicants. 161 freelance members were welcomed, and GEM is now proud to promote a robust supplier list. Currently, GEM is offering students and unwaged professionals a 1-year membership for the discounted rate of £25 as an ongoing effort to support museums and heritage learning professionals during this uncertain time.

Caroline Marcus, Chair of GEM said: “Our aim is to create a stronger GEM for a stronger sector. Never has this been more necessary than during lockdown when, despite significant challenges, GEM responded to support the sector. Described by a member as “a beacon during lockdown” the GEM team created new opportunities to connect and equip the community of people enabling learning across museum, heritage, and cultural settings.

The generous support from NLHF will enable GEM to continue to support and empower our community of colleagues to connect and develop their knowledge and skills to deliver learning. To realise GEM’ s aim, we will respond to community needs by building on our successful new initiatives and further developing new digital training courses and online mentoring.”

The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. £50million has been made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.

The UK-wide fund will address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as GEM during this uncertain time.”

Like GEM, other charities and organisations across the UK that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak are being given access to a comprehensive package of support of up to £600 million of repurposed money from The National Lottery. This money is supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and span the arts, community, charity, heritage, education, environment and sports sectors.

Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes, including heritage of local and national importance. By playing The National Lottery, people up and down the country are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is currently open to applications for its Heritage Emergency Fund. To find out more visit:

To find out more about the National Lottery Good Causes , visit:




Notes to editors

For further information about GEM, images and interview opportunities, please contact: Devon Turner, GEM Communications Manager at

About GEM

GEM is a thriving and vibrant membership network of over 1,500 museum and heritage professionals. Our vision is of a connected and equipped community of people enabling learning across museum, heritage and cultural settings, creating inspiring experiences, relevant for everyone; that promote equality – transform and enrich lives.

We at GEM are continually inspired by our members’ creativity, passion and hard work. Whether you’d like to keep up to date with the latest sector news, develop new skills, or find a new job, GEM is here to help. Find out more about how GEM can help you.

GEM – Connect with us:
Twitter: @gem_heritage
Twitter GEM Jobs: @gem_jobs
Instagram: @gem_heritage

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive change for people and communities, now and in the future. #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

The Heritage Emergency Fund remains open for applications for grants ranging from £3,000 to £250,000 until 31 July 2020. Extra advice and support and longer-term skills and capacity building initiatives has also been made available for the heritage sector. Read more about The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s response to the Covid-19 emergency.

About the National Lottery

  • Since The National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994, more than £40 billion has been raised for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.
  • National Lottery players contribute around £30 million to good causes every week.
  • The National Lottery has made more than 5,500 millionaires but its primary purpose is giving to good causes – over 565,000 individual grants have been awarded across the UK, that’s the equivalent of 200 life-changing projects in every UK postcode district.