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Heritage Awards

Leicestershire & Rutland Heritage Awards 2020

The awards are open to all organisations in Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland.  Entry is free for Forum members and £32 for non-members.  The awards have been rescheduled as a result of the coronavirus situation – all the categories are the same but there is more time to complete and enter projects.  If you entered the awards prior to coronavirus lockdown you can choose whether to stick with your entry or resubmit it to take advantage of the revised dates.

Entries 31st January 2021, Virtual Awards Night April 2021

Whether your heritage organisation is big or small, new or long established, by entering the awards you can take advantage of this exciting opportunity to:
  • Encourage Your People
  • Have Your Organisation Publicised
  • Be Inspired With Others
  • Promote Leicestershire and Rutland’s Heritage


Award Categories

Organisations can enter as many of the eight themed categories as they wish:

In addition organisations may enter either the Museum or Heritage Group Of The Year categories

  • Museum Of The Year – for organisations that own, lease or rent a building / site that is visited by the public – download Museum Of The Year Entry Form
  • Heritage Group Of The Year – for organisations that do not own, lease or rent a building / site that is visited by the public – download Heritage Group Of The Year Entry Form
None of the above forms have changed for the new date.  If you are wondering what to enter, look at the last awards for inspiration.


Awards Information

  • Updated 10th Sept 2020 – Awards Entry Information – details of how to enter the awards – download Awards Entry Information
  • Awards Criteria – questions the judges will be asking when assessing the awards – download Awards Criteria
  • Updated 10th Sept 2020 – Entry Summary – will be used by the judges when assessing the Museum and Heritage Group Of The Year categories, plus used by the Forum for the Awards Night Programme – download Entry Summary
  • Updated 10th Sept 2020 – Consent Form – enables the Forum to pass on your entry information to the judges, local councillors and the media – download Entry Consent Form

The Leicestershire & Rutland Heritage Awards 2018

Congratulations to all the entrants, you are all winners as each project has contributed to the success of your organisation and the area’s heritage.


Project Title

Entry Summary

Attracting New Audiences

Leicester Arts & Museum Service Life at Work – Local Industry Exhibition The project was to co-curate an exhibition with local groups and individuals in the New Parks area of the city and collect memories of their working life as oral histories. The exhibition at New Parks Library included objects from the museum collection as well as loans from the individuals involved
Cotesbach Educational Trust India Comes to Cotesbach A series of talks and podcasts about Anglo-Indian heritage, looking at land, culture and identity, marking seventy years since Indian independence. Including a loan of traditional Indian artefacts from Leicester, archive displays and art exhibition for Indian themed Heritage Open Days (HOD), focal event for attracting new audiences.
The Hero Project CIC The ‘Forest Way’ Forward The project enabled sixth form students at Forest Way School to co-create the Famous 50 Exhibition, enabling them to invite others and host a morning for their teachers and junior school peers to the exhibition and taking real pride and ownership of the project.
Melton Carnegie Museum, Leicestershire County Council Museum Mini’s Museum Mini’s are activity sessions which interpret the Museum collections for very young children, using texture, smell, colour and music to explore the displays in a fun and meaningful way. The project began with ‘A Walk Through a Painting’ and families were encouraged to help us test out our ideas.  WINNER
St Helen’s Heritage Project/St Helen’s PCC  Finding the vaults project The burial records of our 15th Century Church showed many burials in the vaults but we had no idea how many vaults we had, or where the entrance might be. This project sought to answer those questions.  HIGHLY COMMENDED

Behind The Scenes

Leicester Arts & Museum Service From Salvage to archive; scoping the photographic archive Between February 2014 and February 2018 Leicester City Council’s Arts & Museums Volunteering team undertook a salvage and scoping project on the remnants of the city council’s redundant photographic printing service to create a digitised archive of Leicester’s built and social heritage over the past 60 years.  WINNER
Swannington Heritage Trust Potato Lane Bridge – Ensuring Heritage Remains Accessible At short notice, the team safely replaced the wooden foot boards on Potato Lane Bridge spanning Robert Stephenson’s 1833 Swannington Incline at a height 10 metres. A marvellous team of volunteers spent three days on this urgent project to keep the bridge and heritage accessible to the public.

Best Project Over £750

St Helen’s Heritage Project/St Helen’s PCC St Helen’s Community Heritage Centre We have built a new multi-purpose centre to fit the needs of the church, local community, heritage visitors and hirers. The church ‘cottage’ on the current site, was created in the 1970s and was no longer fit for purpose.  WINNER
Foxton Inclined Plane Trust Improved retail and front of house space This project extended and enhanced the limited retail space at the Canal Museum, offering the visiting public an opportunity to collect a memento of their visit to the beautiful Foxton Locks site, understand more about the local canal network and, of course, support the Trust revenue stream by increasing sales.
The Hero Project CIC George Smith of Coalville – A Collaboration between a University, a School and a Business Students from DeMontfort University were supported to develop a contemporary exhibition with year 9 pupils from Newbridge High School about George Smith of Coalville – a local heritage hero. Teaming up with Mander Cruickshank and a professional graphic artist enabled a lasting legacy, a mural, to be created in the centre of Coalville.  HIGHLY COMMENDED
Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust Charnwood Roots Heritage Festival The Charnwood Roots Heritage Festival was designed to showcase new research into Charnwood Forest carried out by Leicestershire VCH Trust and its volunteers. The event included a new 54-panel exhibition, Stories of the Stone Wood: A Thousand Years of Charnwood Life, artefact displays, expert talks, performances, stalls and family activities.

Best Project Under £750

Loughborough Carillon Tower & War Memorial Museum Downloadable Card Model of the Carillon Tower A model of the carillon tower that can be downloaded onto two sheets of A4 card free of charge from our website. It was featured on our Facebook page to direct people to the website. We also published all the photographs of the completed models sent in by the public.  WINNER
St Helen’s Heritage Project/St Helen’s PCC A Walk Through Time Our project spans over 11,000 years of heritage. We wanted to present just a snapshot of the catastrophic events that have involved both the church itself and its support of communities.
Swannington Heritage Trust Another Step Forward – The Sack Hoist In challenging conditions, volunteers spent a year designing, testing and building an operational sack hoist in the cap of Hough Mill to raise grain sacks to the top floor. This is the latest in a series of projects over more than two decades to restore the mill to working condition.  HIGHLY COMMENDED
Cotesbach Educational Trust Cotesbach Rebels This project centred on three performances of ‘Captain Pouch’s Dream’, a play by Len Holden about the peasant leader of the 1607 Cotesbach Enclosures Riot. We also held five associated talks, recorded as podcasts, and linked activities including a community art project, walks, exhibitions, a film and 17th Century refreshments.
Foxton Inclined Plane Trust Flexible Exhibition Space We have created a dynamic changeable space to be used for exhibitions to attract returning visitors to the Foxton Locks site. Our exhibition space, within the museum footprint, creates the opportunity see canal-based items of interest related to the canals, the Inclined Plane and the people who use them.
The Hero Project CIC Free Art Friday – Street Art / Heritage Project What do you get if you mix 50 empty spray cans; 2 willing heritage volunteers; 50 year 6 pupils, an innovative teacher, with a street artist, some graffiti pens, a great story and a bonkers idea? A Free Art Friday of course – and an innovative launch to an exhibition.
Pudding Bag Productions Ashby de la Zouch Digital Heritage Trails Six trails guide users around the town either by mobile or virtually from a computer at home. They cover the main heritage landmarks, with separate trails for Market Street, Inns and Pubs, Churches, Spa Town heritage and “vanished Ashby”. Each stop shows a modern image, an old photo and description.

Best Research Project

Academic Panel – Century of Stories The Medical Records of the Leicestershire Regiment WW1 After WW1, the majority of soldiers’ medical records were destroyed. The Century of Stories project discovered that one of the few sets of records remaining were for the Leicestershire Regiment. These records were previously only accessible at The National Archives, London, and contain detailed and important information of the Regiments’ history. WINNER
Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers Ladybird Artists – Simply the Best . . . . A Display Following on from our display in Loughborough Library (April/May 2015), marking Wills & Hepworths’ centenary of the Ladybird trademark, we planned another for late 2016 promoting the history and quality of Loughborough’s world-famous children’s books. We selected eight Ladybird illustrators and researched their lives and their “non-Ladybird” artistic output.
Swannington Heritage Trust Califat Coal Mine Directory – Digital Publishing Pilot The Califat Coal Mine Directory is a series of digital books that publish the research into the 1855-1873 mine with the aim of sharing the information and learning more. This pilot is the Trust’s first digital publishing project.
Measham Museum Society Measham Time Line Started in 2006, applied for funding December 2017, receive funding Jan 15th 2018, the first 200 books were published in March 2018 and are now on sale. The second batch will be published before June 2018.
The Hero Project CIC Creative Consultations: Leading to Meaningful Engagement in Heritage This project focuses on research undertaken in order to understand the community to inform our activities and approach. This includes two ‘formal’ consultations – one with Headteachers in Feb 2017 and the other with young people in April 2017.
Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust The History of Castle Donington Research and publication of the history of Castle Donington from earliest times, to provide an accurate and accessible record of Castle Donington’s history, and raise awareness of the revived Leicestershire VCH project.
Charnwood Allies The Charnwood Allies, The Zeppelin Raids The Charnwood Allies are a team of nine adults with learning difficulties who voluntarily research, create, share and display local WW1 heritage stories and connections in unique, creative and accessible ways. The Zeppelin Project was the creation of a leaflet guide about sites in Loughborough affected by the Zeppelin raid in 1916.
Pudding Bag Productions Ann Ayre Hely, a Crimean War Nurse Previously, only a little was known about Ann Ayre Hely, a local Crimean War nurse. We used primary and secondary sources to uncover much more about her life, resulting in a book, a 30-minute drama film, an exhibition, a school resource pack and an LCC Green Plaque for Ravenstone Hospital.  HIGHLY COMMENDED

Bringing Heritage Alive

Coalville Heritage Society Coalville Timeline A permanent outdoor public exhibition outlining the history of Coalville through photographs and reminiscence.  HIGHLY COMMENDED
Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers The “Y” Listeners of Beaumanor The establishment of a Strategic Intercept Station, or “Y” Station, at Beaumanor Hall and its top secret operation during World War II is now becoming more widely known. This display presented this period of Beaumanor’s story and the stories of the people who worked – and played – there.
St Helen’s Heritage Project/St Helen’s PCC Back in Time at St Helen’s What would we ask the historic characters of our 15th century Church if they came alive? 97 children from Ashby C of E Primary School were involved in a film project that did just that.
Melton Carnegie Museum Painting the Town Red Young volunteers (under 16 yrs) researched the story of the Marquis of Waterford who, with several friends, went on a drunken rampage in 1837, painting parts of Melton Mowbray with red paint. The volunteers scripted the courtroom drama to present the story and acted it out in a film.
Diseworth Heritage Trust The Heritage of Stitching and Knitting Bringing Heritage alive through researching the heritage of embroidery and knitting and creating a Wall Hanging to commemorate the Queen’s 90th Birthday and Bunting for the Parish Church and ultimately blankets, involving as many volunteers as wished to become involved. Bringing the two crafts together in a WW1- style pin-cushion.
The Hero Project CIC Films Celebrating Coalville’s Rich Heritage Christmas Time – A Song for Coalville, and Dedicated Followers of Passion. Two engaging and accessible films created in collaboration between young people, film maker, a musician, St Bernards Abbey, a nightclub, a market and three schools with the aim of bringing the rich heritage of Coalville to a wider audience.
Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust Rothley’s Big Dig Rothley’s Big Dig was a community archaeology project carried out in the summer of 2016 during the Festival of British Archaeology. More than 170 volunteers of all ages participated. Collectively, they excavated 32 1m x 1m test-pits, shifted 23 tonnes of soil and uncovered around 1,500 datable artefacts.
Pudding Bag Productions The Unquiet Grave, (Grace Dieu Priory Heritage Project) The project involved research, community liaison, script writing, drama and film-making. As a result we made an 18-minute film which dramatised an aspect of the history of Grace Dieu Priory and involved 11 year old pupils from Grace Dieu Manor School acting all the parts.  WINNER

Commemorating Anniversaries

Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers Loughborough’s Lace and Luddite Heritage In June 1816, sixteen Nottingham men were paid to destroy Heathcoat and Boden’s knitting frames in Loughborough. In 2016 we commemorated the 200th anniversary with an exhibition in Loughborough Library, a stand in The Picnic in the Park, a re-enactment of “the walk” to Devon and a talk.  HIGHLY COMMENDED
Diseworth Heritage Trust 100 Years of the Royal Air Force The project commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the history of the RAF, through research, interviewing relevant people and visiting archives, creating an exhibition of materials representing archive material and a presentation by an RAF historian, ending with a toast to the Service, publicising the event through local magazines, press and relevant websites.
The Hero Project CIC The Famous Fifty Exhibition – Coalville A commemorative multi-faceted project honouring the Famous 50 and their contribution and sacrifice in WWI. This inclusive exhibition involved 3550+ of volunteer hours, 50 groups, and 200+ volunteers; it turned empty market stalls into trenches and cinemas, and a market into an exhibition venue attracting over 3200 visitors in 4 weeks.  WINNER
Pudding Bag Productions Maplewell Scribes First World War Project Helen Emery (Century of Stories), and Jadie Wardle, (Maplewell teacher), formed a group of 6 students who met one lunchtime per week. They researched and devised storylines which Wendy helped them to make into two films commemorating WWI: 1. “Murder on the Maplewell Express: 2. “Terror in the Trenches”.

Volunteer Team Of The Year

Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers Loughborough Library Local Studies Volunteers’ aims are to develop the presentation and accessibility of the Local Studies Collection and to raise awareness of the service. Volunteers staffing the Local Studies’ facilities provide wide-ranging and diverse assistance to the casual caller, the serious researcher and regular local and family historians.
Swannington Heritage Trust Family Events Volunteer Team This team of enthusiastic volunteers group together on an ad hoc basis to host our successful family events around four times a year. Together we run ever more popular family events including Easter at the Mill, Strawberry Fayre, Take Teddy to the Mill and Christmas at the Mill.  WINNER
The 1620s House and Garden at Donington le Heath (Leicestershire County Council) 1620s House and Garden Volunteer Team The team of over 30 volunteers includes house interpreters, who help visitors explore the fully-furnished rooms, Garden Volunteers, who source, purchase, plant, propagate and care for the period plants within the garden and Event and Learning volunteers who assist paid staff in those areas.  HIGHLY COMMENDED
The Hero Project CIC The Volunteer Crew for “Head torches Provided” Special Immersive Light and Sound Event 30th November 2017 This one-off volunteer crew initiated and delivered a unique, fully immersive, light and sound experience in Coalville Market on a cold November evening. Creating a mine (with real miners), a trench experience (with gun fire) and a haunting exhibition with smoke and strobes. Over 31 individuals and businesses were involved.
Leicester Museums Technology Association Abbey Pumping Station Museum The Volunteer group support Abbey Pumping Station Museum to care and maintain working collections, help organise and deliver events, support museum improvements, raise money to fund working collections and help to shape the museum’s future development. Our volunteers allow us to be a living, breathing, working museum.

Museum of the Year

Cotesbach Educational Trust Cotesbach Educational Trust Cotesbach Educational Trust (CET), a registered charity established in 2009, hosts and provides learning opportunities focusing on Heritage, Environment, and the Arts. We have access to a unique family archive dating back over 400 years, which, thanks to an extensive cataloguing process, we can now share with the wider community.
Swannington Heritage Trust Swannington Heritage Trust The Trust was formed in 1982 and exists to provide access to the heritage and environment of Swannington and district for the benefit of current and future generations, by acquiring, maintaining and enhancing heritage facilities. The sites it currently manages include a restored windmill, a Victorian coalmine site and the Swannington Inclined Plane.
Diseworth Heritage Trust Diseworth Heritage Trust The Diseworth Heritage Trust exists to preserve the historical, architectural and constructional heritage of Diseworth and the surrounding villages, from Saxon times to the present day. Its Heritage Centre houses a small museum of artefacts, documents, pictures and memorabilia. Exhibitions take place throughout the year reflecting life in Diseworth and Long Whatton.
The 1620s House and Garden at Donington le Heath (Leicestershire County Council) The 1620s House and Garden at Donington le Heath (Leicestershire County Council) The 1620s House at Donington le Heath is a surviving example of a family home built around seven hundred years ago and modernised with new windows, roof and fireplaces in 1618. It recently underwent a major refurbishment and is now presented as an early 17th century house owned by a family who are living in the shadow of the Gunpowder Plot.  WINNER

Heritage Group of the Year

The Hero Project CIC The Hero Project CIC Through innovative use of ‘heritage’, The Hero Project CIC “gets people thinking and engaged in their community; empowers others through developing and sharing tools; has fun and facilitates amazing community exhibitions”.
Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust The VCH was founded in 1899 as a private enterprise, with the intention of producing a history of each English county. Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust was formed in 2008 and registered as a charity (no. 1128575). It raises funds to enable more parish histories to be researched and published as part of the Victoria County History series.
Pudding Bag Productions Pudding Bag Productions Pudding Bag Productions is a small community heritage group consisting of four permanent members, all volunteers. The group aims to explore, present and widen access to history and heritage through film-making and other digital media. Their main activity is researching, writing, and producing historical drama films but they also make documentaries occasionally. They work with other heritage groups, museums, schools and other community groups.
St Helen’s Heritage Project St Helen’s Heritage Project The St Helen’s Heritage Project was launched to enable local people and visitors to learn about the heritage of the Church, and its connections with Ashby-de- la-Zouch. A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £604,800, funding from the Leicester Diocese and from other funding has allowed us to build a Community Heritage Centre with interpretation and displays, provide new interpretation in the church and a heritage activity programme to bring new heritage stories to visitors.  WINNER