A CULTURAL enthusiast has secured a million pound grant to train a new generation of experts.

Prakash Daswani, of Pinner, ensured that the Heritage Lottery Fund will fund the Strengthening Our Common Life (SOCL) project, which gives people of all ages from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to gain a year’s experience in the heritage and cultural sectors.

The 60-year-old, who lives in Glover Road, is the founder and former chief executive of Cultural Co-operation (CC).

He said: “It is an outstanding achievement by both the CC executive team and fellow SOCL consortium members past, present and future, to have secured this major new award.

“HLF’s award will allow a further 51 young people from sections of the population under-represented in the UK’s heritage sector to enter into the heart of Britain’s mainstream culture: learning about our national heritage, re-interpreting it, and making decisions about it for the benefit of all.

“After there was a lot of unemployment in the sector, we set up this scheme as we wanted to nurture and keep skills in the sector, otherwise they would have been lost.

“We hope this will carry the sector in to better times.”

Cultural Co-operation was set up by Mr Daswani in London in 1987 as an independent educational charity.

Prakash Daswani. Credit Simon Richardson.
 

The new £1million was the third round of money provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Skills for the Future project to subsidise the training programme, which started in 2009.

In this third round there will be 17 traineeships on offer in seven cities each year for three years.

The programme aims to give opportunities to people from black, Asian and minority ethnic and faith origin and 18-25-year-olds, both groups which are historically underrepresented in the heritage sector.

The trainees are supported by a bursary and their placement lasts one year in prestigious institutions such as Kensington Palace, the South Bank Centre and the British Museum.

Many of the people who take part secure jobs in the heritage and cultural sector afterwards.