Watts Gallery Trust has received welcome news that it has been awarded a £243,000 Heritage Emergency Fund grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.  The grant will help the charity following a critical loss in income from the temporary closure of Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village in response to Covid-19.


With no income from visitor admissions, group tours, events, the shop, tea shop and commercial gallery over a four-month period from 19 March, the charity is facing a significant shortfall.  This grant provides a lifeline.


Established in Compton, Surrey at the end of the 19th century to provide Art for All, Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village is the legacy of the great Victorian artist, George Frederic Watts OM RA (1817 – 1904) and his wife, the artist and designer, Mary Watts (1849 – 1938).  The Wattses believed that art should be available to everyone, and that access to art and to craft could improve people’s lives.


Today, Watts Gallery Trust upholds this ethos, ensuring that the unique campus of Arts & Crafts buildings and the internationally important collection of paintings, sculpture, ceramics and works on paper created by its founders are accessible to as many people as possible.  Alongside exhibitions and events, the Trust delivers a programme of transformative workshops for socially excluded and vulnerable groups.  These workshops are inspired by the heritage of Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village and help to build self-confidence and to develop new skills.


Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of Watts Gallery Trust, said:


“We are very grateful to National Lottery players and The National Lottery Heritage Fund for this grant.”


“In recent months, we have faced an unprecedented challenge, and I want to thank the Watts Gallery team for their commitment and tireless efforts in continuing to deliver Art for All throughout.  Our free-to-access digital programmes have kept audiences entertained, and our community learning workshops were quickly adapted to make sure that those who need it most have still been able to reap the wide-reaching benefits of creativity and art.”


“We are now starting to reopen, having implemented Government-recommended safety measures across our site.  It is an absolute joy to be able to welcome visitors once again after this extraordinary time.”


Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:


“Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.”


“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village during this uncertain time.”


The funding has been awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. £50 million was made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.


The UK-wide fund aimed to address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.


Like Watts Gallery Trust, other charities and organisations across the UK that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak are being given access to a comprehensive package of support of up to £600 million of repurposed money from The National Lottery. This money is supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and span the arts, community, charity, heritage, education, environment and sports sectors.


Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes, including heritage of local and national importance. By playing The National Lottery, people up and down the country are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.


The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund is now closed for applications. To find out more about how The National Heritage Emergency Fund is supporting the sector at this time please visit: To find out more about the National Lottery Good Causes , visit:


For further information about Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village:


Image: Ben Moore Photography