Red List 2021 support from the Pilgrim Trust

We are pleased to announce a new six-month research project funded by the Pilgrim Trust, which will provide a major update and expansion of our groundbreaking Red List of Endangered Crafts, first published in 2017.

TPilgrim Trusthe 2019 Red List of Endangered Crafts brought the plight of these skills to national attention, with coverage across the national press and BBC Radio on the day of publication. It identified 71 endangered and 36 critically endangered crafts, which, for a number of reasons, including a lack of effective training routes and an ageing workforce, faced an uncertain future.

We have spent much of 2020 supporting the sole traders and micro-businesses that make up the UK heritage crafts sector through a particularly difficult time, as opportunities for direct selling and teaching their skills have been curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 edition of the Red List will consider the knock-on effect of this on the viability of the crafts skills themselves.

HCAThe Sound of Craft Endangered Crafts Officer Mary Lewis will take up the role of Research Manager for the project, thanks to funding of £15,000 from the Pilgrim Trust. The funding will also contribute to a series of endangered crafts symposia gathering together experts in particular craft disciplines to more fully investigate the rarer skills and local variations that make up their craft.

The 2019 version of the Red List is available to view at www.heritagecrafts.org.uk/redlist. If you would like to contribute information for the new version, please email Mary Lewis at redlist@heritagecrafts.org.uk. The updated Red List will be published at a press launch in May 2021.

Mary Lewis, HCA Red List Research Manager, said:

“COVID-19 has only exacerbated the challenges facing endangered craft skills, and our mission is to bring to light the knowledge and practices that are now on the brink, so that as a society we can have an informed debate on which parts of our intangible cultural heritage we want to keep as a resource for the future. Over the next few months I will be reaching out to craft practitioners to renew and supplement the existing data, with both accuracy improvements and real world changes. Please feel free to contribute by contacting me at redlist@heritagecrafts.org.uk.”

Sue Bowers, Director of the Pilgrim Trust, said:

“We are delighted to support the continuing development of the Red List which is so important in tracking the state of heritage crafts in the UK and creating the platform for discussions about how we can bring about positive change in the future.”

 

About the Pilgrim Trust

The Pilgrim Trust aims to preserve and promote Britain’s historical and intellectual assets and to provide assistance to vulnerable members of society. Sixty percent of its funding is directed towards projects aimed at preserving the fabric of architecturally or historically important buildings, or projects working to preserve historically significant artifacts or documents.

www.thepilgrimtrust.org.uk

Winners of the 2020 Heritage Crafts Awards

Sheffield scissor makers Ernest Wright have won the inaugural President’s Award for Endangered Crafts in this year’s Heritage Crafts Awards. The prestigious award, and £3,000 bursary, was initiated by Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) President HRH The Prince of Wales.

The President’s Award was one of five awards presented by Sir John Hayes at the HCA’s Awards Ceremony held on Wednesday 7 October. The event was held online instead of the planned Winners’ Reception due to take place at the Houses of Parliament, which was inevitably curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul Jacobs with master putter-togetherers Cliff Denton and Eric Stones of Ernest Wright scissor makers. Photo by Carl Whitham.

Paul Jacobs with master putter-togetherers Cliff Denton and Eric Stones of Ernest Wright scissor makers. Photo by Carl Whitham.

Ernest Wright was founded in 1902 and reflects everything Sheffield has become famous for – highly skilled craftspeople making supreme quality products. Following a tragedy in 2018, the company went into receivership and the critically endangered craft of scissor making was on the verge of disappearing from Sheffield. Paul Jacobs and Jan Bart Fanoy took action and bought the company, re-hired the remaining master putter-togetherers, Cliff Denton and Eric Stones, and took on several putters in training. The factory is now back in action with 12 scissor patterns currently in production. They plan to use the prize to repair machinery so that putter-in-training can have more productive time learning the craft from Cliff and Eric.

The four other awards were presented with the generous support of the Marsh Christian Trust, who have supported these awards since 2012.

The HCA/Marsh Trainer of the Year award went to Achilles Khorassandjian, shoe making tutor at Capel Manor College in Enfield, Middlesex. Achilles, known as Ash, has worked in the shoemaking industry for 57 years, and still designs and makes shoes from his home studio as well as supporting the next generation of UK shoemakers with his knowledge and skills.

The inaugural HCA/Marsh Trainee of the Year award went jointly to Richard Platt and Sam Cooper, chairmaking apprentices to Lawrence Neal at Marchmont House in Berwickshire. Richard and Sam are currently in the process of opening a rush seated chair workshop, the first of its kind since 1958. They use skills and techniques passed down from Phillip Clissett, Ernest Gimson, Edward Gardiner and Neville Neal. Without them taking up the craft, with support from Hugo Burge at Marchmont, one of Britain’s proudest craft traditions would have been lost.

The HCA/Marsh Volunteer of the Year award went to John Savings, from Appleton in Oxfordshire, hedgelayer and volunteer at the National Hedgelaying Society. John excels at promoting and encouraging others to take part in the traditional craft of hedgelaying. John lays in the South of England style but can put his hand to any style, showing young and old how to make a perfect hedge.

The HCA/Marsh ‘Made in Britain’ Award went to Two Rivers Paper. Established at Pitt Mill on Exmoor in 1987, Two Rivers is now the only manufacturer of traditional handmade, artists’ quality rag paper in the UK and one of only a handful of similar businesses in Europe. Their watercolour paper has an international reputation for excellence. Owner Jim Patterson has recently trained apprentice Zoe and plans to relocate the company to the historic papermaking town of Watchet.

 

Watch the ceremony

Watch the recording of the Awards ceremony on YouTube

 

Finalists

The finalists were as follows:

President’s Award for Endangered Crafts (£3,000): (more details)

  • Paul Jacobs – Ernest Wright scissor makers, Sheffield
  • Jim Patterson – Two Rivers Paper, Somerset
  • Helen Johannessen – industrial ceramics practitioner, London

HCA Marsh Trainer of the Year (£1,000)

  • Achilles Khorassandjian – shoe maker, Middlesex
  • Jim Patterson – paper maker, Somerset
  • Nigel Turton – thatcher, Dorset

HCA Marsh Trainee of the Year (£1,000)

  • Manuel Aragon Gimeno – guitar maker, Nottinghamshire
  • Richard Platt and Sam Cooper – chair makers, Berwickshire
  • Yasmin St Pierre – lapidarist, London

HCA Marsh Volunteer of the Year (£1,000)

  • Ann Day – The Lace Guild, Surrey
  • John Savings – The National Hedgelaying Society, Oxfordshire
  • Young Quilters Fundraising Team – The Quilters’ Guild of Great Britain

HCA Marsh Made in Britain Award (£1,000)

  • Jacqueline Cullen – Whitby jet worker, London
  • Method Studio – furniture makers, West Lothian
  • Two Rivers Paper – paper makers, Somerset

 

 

Five new grants awarded to help save endangered crafts from extinction

Gillian Stewart

Gillian Stewart, bookbinder and fore-edge painter

A coppersmith, a withy pot maker and a disappearing fore-edge painter are among the recipients of the latest round of grants awarded to help safeguard some of the UK’s most endangered craft skills.

The Heritage Crafts Association (HCA), which has begun work on the third edition of its groundbreaking HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts, has awarded a further five grants from its Endangered Crafts Fund, which was launched in 2019 to increase the likelihood of endangered crafts surviving into the next generation.

This round of the HCA Endangered Crafts Fund has been offered with support from Allchurches Trust and the Swire Charitable Trust. The five successful recipients are:

  • Lizzy Hughes, from London, to develop her coppersmithing skills to include joinery, so that she’s able to make objects constructed from multiple parts such as buckets, watering cans and funnels, and to teach the craft.
  • Sarah Ready, from Devon, to develop her practice as a withy pot maker, producing pots for her son to fish with off the Devon coast, and to document the craft.
  • Gillian Stewart, from Glasgow, to expand her bookbinding practice by training as a disappearing fore-edge painter, and to teach the craft.
  • Alex Ward, from Shetland, to develop his furniture making business to incorporate the production of moulding planes for fine furniture making, and to teach the craft of plane making.
  • Lois Walpole, from Shetland, to publish a book on the critically endangered craft of kishie basket making.
Alex Ward's moulding plane

Alex Ward’s moulding plane

These five projects follow 13 awarded in previous rounds, covering endangered crafts such as scissor making, sail making, damask weaving, boot tree making, cockle basket making, folding knife making, neon bending, coracle making, fan making and swill basket making.

As usual the fund was oversubscribed, and this was only compounded by the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sole traders and micro-businesses that make up the heritage crafts sector. The HCA hopes to work with many of the unsuccessful candidates to identify other funding and support opportunities.

HCA Endangered Crafts Officer Mary Lewis said:

“No-one could have anticipated the impact of COVID-19 at the beginning of this year, not only on craft businesses, whose selling, teaching and supply chains have been curtailed, but on the craft skills themselves, many of which were on the brink even before the pandemic hit. We passionately believe that these skills have lots to offer a post-COVID future, as productive and fulfilling tools with which to rebuild a sustainable economy.”

The Endangered Crafts Fund has been funded through generous donations from organisations including Allchurches Trust, The Swire Charitable Trust and The Radcliffe Trust, as well as individuals who have donated sums from £5 right up to several thousands of pounds.

Paul Playford, who heads up the heritage grants programme at Allchurches Trust, said:

“We hope that our funding will help enable these talented craftspeople to further develop their skills, as well as to hand them down to future generations and share their craft with new audiences; potentially opening doors to new funding opportunities in these challenging times. We feel privileged to play our part in telling their story, raising awareness of ancient practices that are so important to preserve for future generations and hopefully inspiring others to follow their lead.”

The HCA continues to seek further donations to save even more of Britain’s most endangered crafts from oblivion. Donations are welcome at any time – for more information visit www.heritagecrafts.org.uk/ecf.

Read the full press release

HCA steps up support with the Swire Charitable Trust

Swire Charitable TrustThe Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) is delighted to announce that it has received a grant of £90,000 from the Swire Charitable Trust – to help meet urgent needs among craftspeople, step up campaigns for recognition and help transform lives through craft.

Richard Wheater, neon bender

Richard Wheater, neon bender

The Swire Charitable Trust supports heritage and the safeguarding of endangered skills as one of its three grant-making priorities, funding charities like the HCA that work hard to protect and cultivate the skills and knowledge underpinning the UK’s heritage sector.

The funding will better enable the HCA to safeguard and support traditional craft skills over the next three years, focusing particularly on increasing the resilience of craft practitioners, developing training routes for craft, promoting craft in schools, and raising the profile of heritage crafts as a key constituent of UK culture.

Patricia Lovett MBE, Chair of the HCA, said:

“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with the Swire Charitable Trust over the next three years. This funding will allow us to build on recent successes, to further the appreciation of heritage craft skills as a vital part of the cultural life of the UK, and to help secure the livelihoods of the next generation of practitioners.”

Martha Allfrey, Trustee of the Swire Charitable Trust, said:

“The work of the HCA aligns closely with everything the Swire Charitable Trust hopes to achieve with our heritage programme. We believe that heritage crafts rightfully play a fundamental part in the UK’s living heritage, and are delighted to be supporting an organisation whose dynamic work does so much to enhance and protect the UK’s heritage craft community. We look forward to watching the HCA grow and solidify this valuable work over the next three years.”

Read the press release

Accessing financial support during COVID-19

Gerald Monaghan, blacksmith (photo by Philip Utton)

Gerald Monaghan, blacksmith (photo by Philip Utton)

The heritage crafts sector, which is predominantly made up of self-employed craftspeople and micro-businesses, is going to be particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, as retailers experience a drop in footfall and selling events are cancelled all around the country.

Our survey in April/May 2020 showed that:

  • 73% of respondents were at reduced capacity or were unable to work as an indirect result of COVID-19;
  • 71% believed their turnover would reduce by more than half; and
  • 56% believed there’s less than a 50:50 chance of their business surviving the next six months.

The guidance below is provided to let heritage crafts businesses know what help is available, and will be updated as things change. Please let us know if there is any support you are aware of not listed here and we will share the details.

We need to know what you would like us to focus on in our support and advocacy in the coming weeks. Please let us know.

 

Self-employed craftspeople

  • Self-employed income support scheme – the Government will provide a taxable grant of 80% of a self-employed person’s earnings up to a maximum of £2,500 month, eligible for those with trading profits of up to £50,000 who make the majority of their income from self-employment. You do not need to prove coronavirus impact and you can keep working and still benefit from the scheme. Earnings are calculated as an average over the past three years and based on net profits, i.e. the amount you declared for tax after you’d taken off expenses but before you were taxed. People can apply directly to HMRC for the grant when the scheme is operational, using an online form, and the grant will be paid directly into their bank account. The scheme will run for three months in the first instance and be available ‘no later than June’, though it will be backdated to March.
  • Universal Credit for the self-employed – the minimum income floor for Universal Credit has been suspended. This means self-employed people out of work as a result of the COVID-19 can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees (£94.25 per week for up to 28 weeks). The money will be payable from day one instead of day four. In addition, the Universal Credit standard allowance and the Working Tax Credit basic element will both increase by £1,000 a year for the next 12 months.
  • Support for self-employed people paying tax – the next round of self-assessment payments on account (originally scheduled for 31 July 2020) have been deferred to January 2021. Additionally, all businesses and self-employed people in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

 

Small craft businesses

The Chancellor has introduced a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • Coronavirus job retention scheme – companies and organisations will be able to apply for a grant from HMRC to cover 80 per cent of the wages of people, up to £2,500 a month, who are not working due to the coronavirus. The grant will be backdated to 1 March and available from April. 12 May update: The job retention scheme has been extended until until the end of October. From August to October the scheme will allow part time working to gradually re-introduce employees back into the workplace. Full details of changes to the scheme will follow by the end of May.
  • Statutory sick pay relief package for small and medium sized enterprises – this means that, from the day after new regulations come into force, businesses will be refunded up to two weeks Statutory Sick Pay per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19. Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a note from their GP.
  • VAT deferral – the next quarter of VAT payments due from businesses have been deferred, meaning that no business will pay VAT from now to June, and they’ll have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.
  • Business rates holiday – for small businesses in England that have retail premises, there will be a 12-month business rates holiday for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
  • Grants for rate-paying businesses – Small businesses that have retail premises with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 should receive grant funding of £25,000 to help meet their ongoing business costs. Small businesses that already receive Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be eligible for grant funding of £10,000. Enquiries about these grants should be directed to your local authority.
  • Business Interruption Loan Schemethis new scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch in late March to support small businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80 per cent on loans of up to £5 million in value. The first 12 months will be interest free, with payments covered by the government.
  • Support for businesses paying tax – all businesses and self-employed people in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

 

Small craft businesses in Wales

The Welsh Government has published details of its £1.4 billion business support package to help businesses across Wales.  In addition, the Development Bank of Wales will be offering all its business customers a three-month capital repayment holiday.

 

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Facebook will be offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to help up to 30,000 eligible small businesses. The company will begin taking applications in the coming weeks and you can sign up to receive more information when it becomes available.