Our impact

Our impact

Children performing under the wing of an old RAF aeroplane
How our investment and expertise supports the UK heritage sector to create positive and lasting change for people and communities.

Page created: 17 June 2021

Since we were established in 1994, we have invested £8.3billion in more than 49,000 projects across the UK. This includes money raised by National Lottery players and - more recently - funding we've distributed on behalf of governments across the UK. 

We have awarded:

  • over £3bn to almost 10,000 area, building and monument projects
  • over £500m to 26,700 community and cultural heritage projects
  • almost £590m to more than 1,400 industrial, maritime and transport projects
  • over £1.8bn to more than 4,200 land, nature and biodiversity projects
  • over £2.2bn to more than 5,600 museum, library, archive and collection-based projects

Explore our work in greater detail.

Our COVID-19 support 

In the 2020–2021 financial year we invested more than £400m cash into the heritage sector (a 50% increase on our usual amount), benefitting more than 1,500 heritage organisations. We also provided expertise and advice on adapting to the pandemic. 

Our distribution of funds included:

  • £50m Heritage Emergency Fund, made possible thanks to National Lottery players
  • £44m Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). And in April 2021 we awarded a further £44m in a second round of the fund.
  • £19 million Heritage Capital Kickstart Fund on behalf of DCMS
  • £40m Green Recovery Challenge Fund for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) 
  • more than £4m Welsh Government funding
  • more than £5m from the Department of Communities in Northern Ireland

In addition, we:

  • distributed £3.5m of targeted support to recipients in our Areas of Focus, deprived local authority areas that have received least funding from us
  • offered interest-free loans between £50,000-£250,000 up to a total of £1.2m 
  • accelerated the provision of our £3.5m Digital Skills for Heritage initiative
  • rolled out a £4m series of business support and enterprise development programmes to support sector resilience
  • committed £2m to fund our network of ROSS consultants, who are providing technical expertise and advice such as mentoring, monitoring and help with business plans
  • continued to support more than 2,500 projects in development and delivery, including £23m of grant increases

Find out more about our COVID-19 support.

The difference the Heritage Emergency Fund made

An evaluation of our £50m emergency fund found that:

  • over 2,400 full time equivalent roles were directly supported by our funding
  • over 1,400 staff were brought back from furlough
  • over 14,700 volunteer roles were directly supported

Find out more about the impact of the Heritage Emergency Fund.

Thanks to National Lottery players

We couldn’t do all this without those who play The National Lottery. Every week National Lottery players raise £30m for good causes.

Since 1994, over £43billion has now been raised and more than 635,000 individual grants have been made across the UK – the equivalent of around 225 lottery grants in every UK postcode district. 

Find out more about National Lottery good causes.