General Aviation all-party group calls on Culture Secretary to invest in and inspire the next generation of aviators

Representatives from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on General Aviation’s Heritage Working Group have met with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to press the case for more investment to preserve our valued heritage aviation sector.

In the meeting with The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, whose portfolio includes heritage and the historic environment, the Working Group highlighted a number of issues facing heritage aviation such as leaseholds and getting more young volunteers into the sector.

The group spoke about the challenges many aviation museums have in recruiting volunteers, particularly as most are older people. There is therefore a need to encourage younger people into taking up voluntary roles in these museums, giving them new skills at the same time and inspiring them to reach for the skies through careers in aviation.

Issues around funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund were also raised with the Secretary of State, as well as findings from the Government’s Mendoza Review which show that greater investment is needed to preserve outdoor aviation exhibitions which are deteriorating and could be lost forever.

The Secretary of State agreed to push for a renewed focus on heritage aviation in the adult skills budget with colleagues from the Department for Education.

The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Chair of the all-party group, said: “It was very worthwhile having the opportunity to meet with the Culture Secretary and discuss the pressing issues facing our valued heritage aviation sector.

“Young people are inspired to go into aviation, whether that be through attending an airshow or going to their local aviation museum to learn about the important role aviation has played in our country’s history. We want to see more young people reaching for the skies, particularly given the skills shortages we face in a number of areas. The Secretary of State clearly understood these issues, and we look forward to working closely with his Department going forward.”

The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “It’s remarkable to note that with over 140 aviation museums and collections across the UK, 80% of Brits live within an hour of an air museum. I am keen to ensure that the next generation is inspired into STEM careers by our remarkable aviation heritage.”

Robert Courts MP, Parliamentary Chair of the Heritage Working Group, said: “This was an excellent opportunity for members of the APPG to outline how the Government can support aviation heritage in the UK. I was very encouraged by the Secretary’s conviction to support the heritage sector, and I look forward to working with colleagues to this end.”

Robert Pleming, Sector Chair of the Heritage Working Group, said: “I’m very grateful to the Secretary of State for the opportunity to brief him on some of the issues facing Britain’s unique network of aviation museums, and pleased at his helpful response to ensuring that aviation heritage continues to thrive and to deliver inspiring aviation and engineering experiences to youngsters of all ages!”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation has 155 parliamentary members from across both Houses of Parliament, and all the major political parties. The full membership can be found at www.GeneralAviationAPPG.uk/parliamentary-members.

The programme for the Heritage Working Group can be read here: www.GeneralAviationAPPG.uk/heritage/

The Government’s Mendoza Review of museums in England, published in November 2017, can be read in full here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-mendoza-review-an-independent-review-of-museums-in-england

More information about applying for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund is available here: www.hlf.org.uk/looking-funding