Press Release: The Leeds Library receives £49,800 National Lottery support to help address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on heritage  

The Leeds Library has received £49,800 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to support the Library during its reopening phase following its 15-week closure due to the Covid-19 lockdown.  Funds will be used to undertake essential building and maintenance work and support a fundraising programme to assist the Library recover from the impact of the unexpected closure.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown began, The Leeds Library has been focused on delivering a broad range of online and remote services for its members including an eBook Library, digital access to newspapers and journals, a postal loans service and online events programme. The Library has also been planning its reopening and looking at new ways in which the people of Leeds can engage with one of the heritage gems of the city, and which is the oldest membership subscription Library still in existence in the British Isles.

Carl Hutton, Chief Executive of The Leeds Library said: “Thanks to the National Lottery and its players we can now look to invest in our heritage and open up the Library quickly not just for our Members but also for visitors over the coming months so they can engage with our heritage story. We’re grateful that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us at this crucial time – it’s a lifeline for us and others who are passionate about sustaining heritage for the benefit of all.”

The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. £50million has been made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector. The UK-wide fund will address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.

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 The Leeds Library during this uncertain time.”

Like The Leeds Library, 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 is currently open to applications for its Heritage Emergency Fund. To find out more visit:

To find out more about the National Lottery Good Causes , visit:


Notes to editors 

Images: The Leeds Library New Room; Window art created by local artist Jenny Tribillon.

For further information about The Leeds Library images and interview opportunities, please contact: Carl Hutton at

About the Leeds Library 

The Leeds Library is the oldest membership subscription Library of its type and was founded in 1768 by amongst others, Joseph Priestley.  The Library now has over 1000 members and delivers a year long programme of outreach and events for the people of Leeds which included the award-winning Leeds Lit Fest of which the Library was lead partner. The Library reopened to members on the 6th July and is open 6 days a week.

Read more about the Leeds Library in the latest edition of its newsletter, Speaks Volumes or go to the website:

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 change for people and communities, now and in the future. #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

The Heritage Emergency Fund remains open for applications for grants ranging from £3,000 to £250,000 until 31 July 2020. Extra advice and support and longer-term skills and capacity building initiatives has also been made available for the heritage sector. Read more about The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s response to the Covid-19 emergency.

About the National Lottery 

  • Since The National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994, more than £40 billion has been raised for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.
  • National Lottery players contribute around £30 million to good causes every week.
  • The National Lottery has made more than 5,500 millionaires but its primary purpose is giving to good causes – over 565,000 individual grants have been awarded across the UK, that’s the equivalent of 200 life-changing projects in every UK postcode district.

Events at The Leeds Library