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Three new endangered crafts grants for Sussex

Sarah BurnsA block printer, a trainee rake maker and a reverse glass sign artist have been awarded grants to help safeguard some of Sussex’s most endangered craft skills.

Heritage Crafts and the Sussex Heritage Trust have awarded the grants through the Heritage Crafts’ Endangered Crafts Fund, which was launched in 2019 to increase the likelihood of endangered crafts surviving into the next generation. The successful project joins six previous Sussex recipients funded through the partnership between Heritage Crafts and Sussex Heritage Trust, including a trainee millwright, two flint wallers, a brick maker, a trug maker, a wallpaper maker. Nationally, 50 projects have now been funded through the Endangered Crafts Fund since 2019.

The three new recipients are:

  • Sarah Burns is a textile block printer and natural dyer from West Sussex. Her craft is founded on the use of seasonal natural dye colours that are foraged from the hedgerows and fields around her – fruitwood prunings in winter, hedgerow cuttings in the spring, fruits and flowers in the summer and warm oak tannins in the autumn. She will use the grant to install two large dye kettles to increase her output and make the business more sustainable whilst upskilling her apprentice.
  • Kevin Copeland is Woodland Manager at Veterans’ Growth, a charity in Westfield, East Sussex, dedicated to helping ex-service personnel who are suffering from mental health issues by offering horticultural therapy and support. Kevin will train in traditional wooden rake making in order to pass these skills on to service users and the wider community. Rakes are useful to the charity, as they hand collect the hay from their meadows, and to others in the area who are interested in farming and managing land in a more traditional and sustainable way.
  • Eddy Bennett is a reverse glass sign artist from Brighton who uses acid etching to create the distinctive patterns recognisable from Victorian-style advertising signs of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His grant will enable him to purchase a plotter to cut vinyl etching stencils and provide custom stencils to other reverse glass sign artists in the region.

Eddy BennettIn 2021 Heritage Crafts published the third edition of its groundbreaking Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research of its kind to rank the UK’s traditional crafts by the likelihood that they will survive into the next generation. The report assessed 244 crafts to ascertain those which are at greatest risk of disappearing, of which four were classified as extinct, 74 as ‘endangered’ and a further 56 as ‘critically endangered’.

Mary Lewis, Heritage Crafts Endangered Crafts Manager, said:

“The current energy crisis means that our craft skills are at more risk than ever before. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Sussex Heritage Trust to address the specific challenges to endangered skills and knowledge in Sussex, a region renowned for its craftsmanship and material heritage.”

A further five grants from the rest of the UK are due to be announced in the coming days.

Endangered Crafts Fund for Sussex

Halnaker Windmill – restoration of windmill in West Sussex

Halnaker Windmill – restoration of windmill in West Sussex

The Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) and the Sussex Heritage Trust (SHT) are delighted to announce that they are working in partnership to provide Sussex-based applicants with grants of up to £2,000 to help save endangered crafts such as brick making, masonry flint knapping and hurdle making from extinction.

Last year the HCA published the second edition of its groundbreaking HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research of its kind to rank the UK’s traditional crafts by the likelihood that they will survive into the next generation. The report assessed 212 crafts to ascertain those which are at greatest risk of disappearing, of which four were classified as extinct, 71 as ‘endangered’ and a further 36 as ‘critically endangered’.

The Sussex Heritage Trust has recently received funding from the Ian M Foulerton Trust, alongside other donations, to fund Sussex-based grants, which will be administered through the HCA’s Endangered Crafts Fund.

Gary Campbell at Weald and Downland Museum – SHT oak timber framing bursary recipient

Gary Campbell at Weald and Downland Museum – SHT oak timber framing bursary recipient

Craft practitioners and organisations are invited to apply for small grants to fund projects that support and promote endangered crafts (the craft must be listed as endangered or critically endangered on the current HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts). Sussex-based applications will be ring-fenced, so they will only be competing for funds with projects in the counties of East and West Sussex and Brighton and Hove, not with projects elsewhere in the UK, which are also invited through the UK-wide scheme.

There is a maximum of £2,000 available for each project and the HCA will work with applicants to develop and support their work. Projects could include training to learn a new craft or technique for the applicant or their apprentice, specialist equipment that will enable them to continue practising a craft or add a new product to their business, materials and equipment to start running workshops, or other innovative approaches to supporting and promoting endangered crafts.

The Endangered Crafts Fund is now open with a deadline of 26 February 2021. An application form is available to download from www.heritagecrafts.org.uk/ecf-apply. Eligible projects will be invited to progress to the next stage in collaboration with the HCA and SHT and all applications will be judged by a panel of representatives of both organisations. Please note that this is a competitive process and not all applications will receive funding. Potential applicants who would like to talk over a project idea are encouraged to contact Mary at mary@heritagecrafts.org.uk.

Mary Lewis, HCA Endangered Crafts Officer, said:

“During the COVID-19 pandemic our craft skills are at more risk than ever before. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Sussex Heritage Trust to address the specific challenges of COVID-19 to endangered skills and knowledge in Sussex, a region renowned for its craftsmanship and material heritage.”

Simon Knight DL, Chairman of the Sussex Heritage Trust, said:

“Excellent architecture and design, traditional building skills and craftmanship are an important part of the rich heritage of Sussex. This partnership with the Heritage Crafts Association will address the particular challenges of these crafts and facilitate the transfer of endangered crafts, building skills and knowledge to the next generation.”

The UK-wide Endangered Crafts Fund is supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Dulverton Trust, Allchurches Trust, the Radcliffe Trust and individual donors.

www.heritagecrafts.org.uk/ecf-apply