Court Barn - photo by Alec Miller

Since its foundation, Heritage Compass has supported more than 400 participating organisations through training, mentoring, peer learning, access to funding, and a wealth of resources.

The impact has been profound, and we have seen hundreds of heritage organisations use their time on the programme to develop robust business plans, construct income generation strategies, and build their own audience development and earned income plans – ensuring a more resilient and sustainable future.

169 training sessions in Business Planning, Fundraising, Earned Income and Audience Development
547 attendees across 30 sessions for fundraising modules
£150,000 of Community Grants delivered for 34 organisations
3 Heritage Compass Symposiums, collectively bringing together 500+ attendees from across the heritage sector
222 Critical Friend Pairings, delivering 1,437 hours of support
6 organisations awarded up to £2,500 for grassroots network development
20 organisations supported to develop their own bespoke strategy
207 Mentoring relationships, providing 1,454 hours of direct support

As a result of the programme, organisations have:

Heritage Compass Symposium 2023

Attracted new funding and diversified their income, with over 79% of participants creating a new fundraising strategy and many using the skills learnt during training to successfully apply to Trusts and Foundations, Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund amongst other funders, as well as to set up new commercial models and online donations platforms. For example, the Historical Diving Society secured over £800,000 of new funding.

Developed a more positive organisational culture and built up their own resilience, with 97% of participants implementing new ways of working as a result of the programmeFor example, London Dreamtime focused on sharping its vision, discarding unworkable ideas and developing new practical ones, whilst Turn End Trust utilised the programme to establish itself as a heritage organisation, building new networks, recreating the Case for Support and writing successful funding applications, and expanding their Board of Trustees.

“I have found new and better words to explain what I do to outsiders. I have changed my working methods and admin. I’ve even opened a business bank account! Overall, I feel much more intended in everything I do in my work. I’m so grateful to the facilitators.”

Vanessa Woolf, London Dreamtime
Heritage Compass Symposium 2023

Upskilled and grew their board and teams by either participating directly in the training or taking key learnings back to share with others, with over 70% saying they learnt new things and 97% saying the programme will help them grow. For example, Qube in Oswestry was able to both upskill its existing team and review its staff structure and employ an Operations Manager for the first time, supporting the workload of the Chief Officer and solidifying the Senior Management Team.

Broadened their audiences and increased their reach by learning about audience development, brand awareness and showcasing your purpose, helping heritage organisations refresh their vision, mission and purpose, and connect more closely with their audiences. For example, Selby Abbey, used the programme to refresh their business plan and vision and mission, leading to a strong partnership with the local authority that encompassed large-scale townscape projects, cultural programmes and community engagement.

“I am finding the Heritage Compass programme very good… the mentor and critical friend have both been great and have really helped me a lot. I have been the envy of my other CEO colleagues when I’ve talked about it.”

Laurel Kershaw, Qube
Heritage Compass Symposium 2023

Developed new partnerships, with relationships built through Symposiums, networking events or training opportunities, and support from mentors and critical giving participants the confidence needed to reach out to others. For example, the Black Heritage Walks Network secured new contracts with National Trust, Birmingham Museums Trust, Birmingham City University and Simmer Down Arts.

Reinvigorated their business models, with more than 73% creating a new Business Plan, and many organisations actively transitioning into new governance structures, including Registered Charities and Community Interest Companies using the guidance provided. For example, Youth Landscapers, successfully registered as a Community Interest Company, leading to the development of new partnerships and strategic projects.

Become more strategic in their thinking and planning, with participants taking into account their long-term resilience, working with critical friends and mentors to move away from project-based ‘quick-wins’ and towards a more sustainable future. For example, for Emma, who was the sole founder of The RED Archive and was juggling the project with other work and family life, Heritage Compass provided crucial support at a time of rapid growth, carving out time for strategic thinking, leading to the successful completion of a £10,000 project funded by NLHF.

“We cannot thank you enough for all of your support and guidance, it was exactly what we needed at just the right time, it’s made a fifteen year crusade come to life.”

Katherine Edgar, The Shelley Trust
Participant feedback

70% agreed that they had learnt new things in the training courses

97% agreed the programme would help them to grow their organisation

81% agreed that they were confident in taking away ideas and implementing them

94% felt the training sessions were of a high standard

98% enjoyed networking and hearing from others

Evaluation Report

Interim report (September 2023)

This Evaluation report reflects on the recruitment to the programme and looks at who took part.

It explores how different organisations engaged with the programme, what the barriers and access challenges were for some, how participants found the programme and what we can learn moving forward.

This report contains data representing the first three waves of the Heritage Compass programme. A final evaluation report will follow.

Download the report
Heritage Compass evaluation report front cover

Evaluation Report – Intake 3

Intake 3 report (June 2024)

In April 2022, the Heritage Compass programme was extended to support up to 100 additional organisations. 

This evaluation report looks at the experiences of the final cohort of organisations, as well as reflecting on case studies of organisations from previous cohorts, and exploring the impacts of additional funding for grassroots networks, Strategic Support Resilience Grants and a Guided Strategic Training Programme. 

Download the report

Executive Summary

Interim report

View the Heritage Compass evaluation executive summary in the form of an extended infographic. Find out at-a-glance the range of organisations we worked with, what support they needed, the activities that took place and headlines around the learning from the programme.

This report contains data representing the first three waves of the Heritage Compass programme. A final evaluation report will follow.

Download the summary
Heritage Compass evaluation executive summary