New national lottery to help 'protect' Scottish heritage jewels

Scotland’s biggest conservation charity is to launch its own lottery scheme to help raise vital funding to protect some of the nation’s most important castles, palaces, gardens and houses.
The A-listed House of Dun, which was designed by William Adam and completed in 1743 for the Erskine Family, will be among the first NTS properties to benefit from the Scottish Hertiage Lottery. Picture: Brian ChappleThe A-listed House of Dun, which was designed by William Adam and completed in 1743 for the Erskine Family, will be among the first NTS properties to benefit from the Scottish Hertiage Lottery. Picture: Brian Chapple
The A-listed House of Dun, which was designed by William Adam and completed in 1743 for the Erskine Family, will be among the first NTS properties to benefit from the Scottish Hertiage Lottery. Picture: Brian Chapple

The National Trust for Scotland, which has 365,000 members, is asking them to pay up to £104 a year to take part in the new “Scottish Heritage Lottery,” which will be offering a top cash prize of £5,000.

It has written to members asking them to sign up to a new direct debit to play the weekly lottery to “help protect our heritage for future generations,” highlighting that 300,000 artefacts, 46 Munros, 38 gardens, 27 castles and houses, and eight nature services are in its care.

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It is hoped that at leat 5,000 players will be recruited for the Scottish Heritage Lottery initially, with the aim that this number will “grow over time”.

The new Scottish Heritage Lottery will help pay for refurbishment of Gladstone's Land, one of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile. Picture: Neil HannaThe new Scottish Heritage Lottery will help pay for refurbishment of Gladstone's Land, one of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile. Picture: Neil Hanna
The new Scottish Heritage Lottery will help pay for refurbishment of Gladstone's Land, one of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile. Picture: Neil Hanna

Trust chiefs insist they always planned to launch the lottery scheme – which is open to anyone in the UK to play even if they are not a member of NTS – this year, but admit the trust is experiencing a “steep decline in income” after being forced to close all of its attractions and gardens during the ongoing lockdown.

In a letter to members, the trust admits its timing for launching the new lottery “isn’t ideal” but says it needs the support of its members “more than ever”.

The trust was forced to close its attractions and gardens, including the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, Culross Palace in Fife, Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran and Inverewe Garden in Wester Ross after social distancing restrictions were brought in by the Scottish Government last month.

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In its letter to members, the trust states: “We need your help to protect our heritage for future generations.

“You’ll not only have the opportunity to win great prizes, but you’ll also be helping us to care for the things we love about Scotland.

“Each week your entry will go towards ensuring that our history always has a home and that our countryside remains unspoilt.”

Among the first projects the Scottish Heritage Lottery is expected to support are refurbishments of Gladstone’s Land, one of the oldest surviving buildings on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, and House of Dun, an A-listed Georgian mansion in Angus.

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Mark Bishop, director of customer and care at the trust, said: “It often surprises people that, as a charity, we receive little government funding, and that we rely on membership and donations to care for, protect and promote the rich cultural, built and natural heritage in our care.

“Heritage which is so fundamental to the fabric of our national identity and which means so much to so many – especially at this time.

“A lottery is a great way for people to get involved with the trust and support all we do for the love of Scotland.

“While our lottery was planned before this crisis, with our properties closed, we are experiencing a steep decline in income and so support from all those who love Scotland and our unique heritage could not be more important at this time.

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“While our situation today is extremely challenging and we cannot welcome people to the places which mean so much to so many, we know that the national and natural treasures the trust protects have become even more special to people at the moment and that many of them want to play a part in ensuring they continue to be cared for.

“Our significant heritage demands significant care, every year – our objective is to involve as many people as possible in our efforts to care for our castles, country houses, collections, stories and landscapes.”

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