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The Sandford Cascade Project

a Heritage Lottery funded project in the East Midlands.


Strengthening learning in the historic environment’. The Sandford Cascade Project is an innovative East Midlands based project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to encourage confidence within heritage learning so that more sites and collections apply for the prestigious Sandford Award.  An aspiring site (Sandford Advancer) is placed with a Sandford Award winner (Sandford Supporter) and support and capacity is added through training, volunteer involvement, a range of user-friendly e-learning and funds to meet costs as well as financial contributions for those involved.  Advancers have received good practice and learning from their Supporter(s) and participants ‘cascade’ this back into their own site or collection.The Sandford Cascade project has also built the foundations for an exciting informal learning award, the Sandford Award for Informal Learning (SAIL), that seeks to recognise good practice and the fostering of positive relationships between visitors and venues. Over 30 SAIL projects in the East Midlands region received their Sandford Award for Informal Learning at the National Civil War Centre on Tuesday 3 September. You can read our news story and view the full list of SAIL recipients here:

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The principal aim of this scheme is to build capacity and resilience within the heritage learning sector in the East Midlands. By the development of strong networks of learning, cascading and sharing good practice, we have supported the shaping of a resilient heritage economy in the region. The project has enabled heritage sector professionals and volunteers to build sustainable opportunities for the benefit of their service users and sites in the historic environment.

The Sandford Cascade Project reaches the end of its funded life cycle on 31 October 2019 and we are unable to accept any further expressions of interest to join the scheme.

The Sandford Award - Heritage Educators and Learning Practitioners (HELP) Development Framework

As a legacy of the Sandford Cascade project a new free online course, using the Sandford Award judging criteria as its framework, is being developed. The course will support new and practising education officers and volunteers to develop the knowledge and skills required to deliver formal learning that inspires and engages, and that meets the needs of schoolchildren and teachers visiting their site. The course will be launched later in 2019 and a link to enrol will be available through this website and the website for Bishop Grosseteste University.

Project evaluation

Opportunity to make connections with people in other contexts, not just cathedrals. Experiencing other venues and hearing about what they do with schools and families.”

´It has opened my eyes!! It has been fascinating to meet people working in the sector and visit their historic places of work. I've learned that we do have problems in common.´

“I would recommend that the Cascade project was a permanent fixture – year in year out. It’s a great source of professional development and sharing.  Especially for early career learning professionals, I could see the cascade programme of training forming an outstanding, fairly comprehensive ‘induction’ in to the world of museum and heritage education.”

“I see the Sandford Cascade bursary as a single grain of sand that enabled our closed shelled oyster of a museum to produce a real pearl which will have lasting value to all who share it.”

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Get in Touch

Sandford Cascade Project

Bishop Grosseteste University,

Longdales Road, Lincoln, LN1 3DY.

(01522) 583695

Bishop Grosseteste University is a Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity. Registered in England and Wales, Company Number 11963500 and Charity Number 1184682 | The Heritage Education Trust is a Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity. Registered in England Company Number 2080758 and Charity Number 297311