Values statement on heritage

Bobbins photo by Nick HandThe Heritage Crafts Association’s mission is to support and promote crafts as a fundamental part of our living heritage. As part of this mission and our continuous aspiration to improve as an organisation, we would like to make an honest and open statement about what heritage means to us. We don’t mean this as a finished statement, but as a starting point for a discussion.

We believe that the value of our craft heritage comes from the diversity of skills and traditions across all of our communities, wherever they originated and whenever they were brought here. We want everyone to feel included in the HCA and our work, no matter how long they have called this country home or what their background may be.

Our heritage is what we choose to take with us, from our complex (and at times difficult) past, into a future that we wish to realise. Through dialogue about craft we can learn from many traditions, acknowledge past and present injustice, and strive to create a future that is fairer and more equal. We don’t believe we can do that until we have come to terms with our past, and fully acknowledged the ways in which it continues to affect us today.

We recognise that throughout history British society has been full of inequalities, many of which continue to this day. Sometimes these are expressed as explicit prejudices, but often they are implicit, embedded in the structures of our institutions and public discourses in ways that disadvantage, disenfranchise and alienate people. We applaud efforts to bring to light discrimination and injustices, including those of the past that have implications today, and believe that more needs to be done to reveal and tackle them.

We don’t own the debate about how heritage is defined and we recognise that many people have been (and continue to be) excluded from the debate. Where we can, we want to use our position to give them a voice. We are not afraid to question the society within which we operate, or in turn be questioned and challenged by others, and be prepared to change.

COVID-19 grants for green woodworkers

Deadline: Friday 25 September 2020 at 5pm

Pole-lathe turningThe Heritage Crafts Association (HCA), with financial support from the Association of Pole-lathe Turners and Green Woodworkers (APTGW), is offering grants of up to £500 for UK green woodworkers and pole-lathe turners operating as sole traders and small businesses to invest in something that will help make their business more sustainable during the COVID-19 pandemic (and in the months that follow) or to ‘bridge the gap’ until future income can be secured.

Based on the result of our recent sector survey, crafts businesses are being particularly hard hit by the economic implications of the crisis, so this fund has been set up to help small crafts businesses access new markets, trial new ways of operating, or keep them afloat until they can be more sustainable.

Examples might include (but are not limited to) investing in:

  • market research and development of products suited to the emerging economy;
  • tools and equipment to make new products;
  • targeted advertising to reach out to new markets;
  • improved online presence to develop the mail order side of your business;
  • training and skills development;
  • developing online teaching/workshops as an income stream; or
  • paying the bills until a time when applicants have reason to believe that business will improve.

Applications will be considered based on the potential of the idea to develop new ways of working that will improve craftspeople’s sustainability during difficult times or to ‘bridge the gap’ until future income can be secured. As well as the grants, the HCA has some capacity to provide advice and guidance to help applicants make their idea a reality.

The deadline for applications is Friday 25 September 2020 at 5pm. Funds are limited, so unsuccessful applicants from this round may be contacted again in future if more funding is secured later, to ask if they want their applications to be reassessed in future rounds.

Applicants must:

  • be green woodworkers or pole-lathe turners practising a craft that requires a high degree of hand skill and has been practised in the UK for two generations or more, (including migrant crafts);
  • rely on green woodworking or pole-lathe turning (making, teaching, demonstrating etc) for over 50% of their personal income;
  • be based in the UK or intending to practice their craft in the UK on a permanent basis;
  • actively promote the crafts of green woodworking and/or pole-lathe turning as part of their regular practice;
  • demonstrate how they will use the grant to make their business more sustainable during and after the COVID-19 pandemic or to ‘bridge the gap’ until future income can be secured;
  • be HCA members or indicate in their project plan that they will allocate part of their grant to a year’s membership (£20 for sole traders or £40 for small businesses of two or more); and
  • not have received funding of more than £500 from the HCA in the last 24 months.


Please download an application form here and email your completed form to by 5pm on Friday 25 September 2020.

Are you a young person in West Somerset who wants to try a career in heritage craft?

Gareth Irwin, green woodworker (photo by Gavin Hogg)

Gareth Irwin, green woodworker (photo by Gavin Hogg)

Young people aged 16 to 21 – West Somerset

The Heritage Crafts Association SEPE pre-apprenticeship scheme, funded by the Ernest Cook Trust, allows young people to see what it would be like to work in heritage crafts.

  • Would you be interested in trying a new practical skill in a traditional craft and learn more about being self-employed?
  • You can gain an entry certificate to a BTEC Level 1 and valuable experience to add to your CV

We would like to meet you and talk about the opportunity we are offering to nine young people – starting Spring 2017.

Come and join us and our craft professionals for a work placement – you never know where it might lead….!

For more details, please contact Tracy Hill at