Digital volunteers set to make big impact for Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust thanks to National Lottery funding

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Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust has been awarded £26,990 of National Lottery funding to launch a digital volunteering initiative and break down barriers to heritage.

Today’s funding is part of The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Digital Skills for Heritage initiative, which aims to raise digital skills and confidence across the whole UK heritage sector.

Seventeen projects have been awarded funding to create digital volunteering opportunities, supporting volunteers to develop and contribute their digital skills. Some opportunities will be offered online – removing barriers such as place, mobility, time commitments and confidence in returning to in-person activities due to the pandemic.

In turn, heritage organisations will gain the perspectives and skills of ‘at distance’ and on-site digital volunteers including many who may not have had the chance to volunteer before. The impact of the new volunteering opportunities and ways of working will be shared across the heritage sector.

Ros Kerslake, CEO at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Volunteers play a crucial role in supporting and sharing the UK’s heritage. Thanks to National Lottery players we are delighted to support these trailblazing projects, including the Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust as they create exciting new digital volunteering opportunities, helping to break down barriers and inspire the sector to get even more people involved in the heritage they love.”

This NLHF funding will enable RPMT to recruit and train at least 50 new volunteers to bring new digital experiences to our museums. Working with academics from the University of Brighton and other local partners, we will train them in new skills such as narrative design, audio editing and interview techniques. In addition to learning new skills, these volunteers will help bring our museums to life with new approaches to storytelling.

The project will focus on creating two new visitor experiences. One will be a new audio guide for Preston Manor, supporting volunteers to explore the history of the Stanford family who once lived there, the servants who kept the home running, and its infamous reputation as Brighton’s most haunted house. In Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, our volunteers will support the expansion and enhancement of a One Minute storytelling app. Developed in collaboration with the IT University of Copenhagen, this ground-breaking app uses artificial intelligence to recognise exhibits from snapshots taken by visitors’ mobile phones, and present bite-sized stories about their hidden histories.

CEO of Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust Hedley Swain said: “The Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust is incredibly grateful to the National Heritage Lottery fund for giving us this opportunity. The last year has shown us how essential digital skills are and how important digital technology can be as a means of communicating culture and heritage. We also want to work far more closely with individuals and communities in Brighton & Hove and help improve digital skills and our two projects will make a major contribution to this”.



Notes to editors

About Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust

RPMT is a charitable trust responsible for the management of the Royal Pavilion & Museum service in Brighton & Hove.

Formed in October 2020, the RPMT protects and preserves the venues and collections in the service while offering a vibrant and fascinating service to visitors from around the world.

The Trust is funded by Arts Council England, Brighton & Hove City Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and other charitable organisations and from public donations as well as income from admissions.

RPMT oversees the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Preston Manor, Hove Museum & Art Gallery and the Booth Museum of Natural History.

RPMT offers a wide range of exhibitions, displays and events through the year covering history, art and culture to appeal to all visitors.

Contact information for press and media

For further information, images or interviews please contact Caroline Sutton on or 01273 071296.

For urgent enquiries in my absence please contact or 03000 290906.


About The National Lottery Heritage Fund 

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund and #HereForDigital 


The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s  2020 Digital Attitudes and Skills for Heritage (DASH) survey and report identified an appetite to develop digital skills across the sector and informed the £3.5million Digital Skills for Heritage programme. Find out more here.