Shared History Fund

Shared History Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is distributing a total of £1million through the Shared History Fund to organisations in the UK marking the centenary of Northern Ireland.


The Shared History Fund is no longer accepting applications. Explore our available funding.


This fund has been created as part of the UK Government’s commitment to facilitate local and national awareness of the centenary of Northern Ireland, which also paved the way for the formation of the UK as we know it today.

The fund also reflects the commitment to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland in line with the Principles for Remembering, as set out in the New Decade New Approach agreement in January 2020.

Paul Mullan, Director of Northern Ireland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "We recognise that dealing with contested heritage can be challenging, but it’s also important that this significant period is marked and the many communities and individuals it has impacted are acknowledged.

"We hope that all initiatives will embrace that opportunity, and we’re looking forward to supporting a diverse range of projects and organisations.”

The Shared History Fund uses funds provided by the UK Government and is being distributed by The National Lottery Heritage Fund using criteria set by the Northern Ireland Office.

This fund is open to organisations across the UK, and is designed to support a diverse range of groups seeking to mark the centenary, including:

  • charities, trusts and charitable incorporated organisations
  • community and voluntary groups
  • community interest companies
  • faith based or church organisations
  • local authorities
  • educational organisations
  • other public sector and not for profit organisations

Who cannot apply

  • For profit organisations

We will fund projects that encourage engagement with the history of the Centenary of Northern Ireland in line with the Principles for Remembering

As a guide, this could include projects that:

  • Reflect on the history of the centenary through use of archive material, oral history and other historical sources.
  • Encourage people to engage with history through innovative and creative means.
  • Embrace diverse perspectives, reflecting on the complexity of Northern Irish history and identity.
  • Facilitate engagement with untold stories relating to Northern Ireland’s history.
  • Explore how the historical context has shaped today’s Northern Ireland. We are particularly interested in the themes of:
    • Locality – eg your town through 100 years.
    • Thematic complexity – eg emigration/immigration, women’s stories, agriculture.
    • Stories of communities of interest eg new communities to Northern Ireland, role of the arts sector, the history of industry in Northern Ireland.
    • UK context eg the impact of the events of 1920-22 on the UK's politics, people and identity.
    • Wider context eg north/south, east/west, international context, stories of Northern Irish diaspora.
    • Examine the contribution made by significant historical, artistic, literary, entrepreneurial, scientific and medical Northern Irish figures and organisations.
  • Projects that mark the centenary of Northern Ireland in 2021 in a spirit of mutual respect, inclusiveness and reconciliation, in line with the Principles for Remembering (see below).
  • Projects that facilitate local and national awareness of the Centenary of Northern Ireland.
  • Projects that will deliver in 2021 or by the first quarter of 2022.
  • Projects that are accessible, taking into consideration how the activity will be inclusive of different audiences and demographics.
  • Projects that have appropriately considered and contingency planned for how public health restrictions relating to COVID-19 may impact any in-person events. You will need to factor in assumptions about social distancing in line with the regulations in the relevant jurisdiction.
  • Projects that encourage reflection, engagement and exploration of different perspectives on a century of life in Northern Ireland.
  1. Start from the historical facts.
  2. Recognise the implications and consequences of what happened.
  3. Understand that different perceptions and interpretations exist.
  4. Show how events and activities can deepen understanding of the period.

All to be seen in the context of an inclusive and accepting society.

We can cover a wide range of direct project costs.

These could include, for example:

  • volunteer expenses related to delivery of your centenary project
  • training costs related to delivery of your centenary project
  • virtual or in-person event/exhibition costs (in line with public health restrictions)
  • new staff posts related to delivery of your centenary project
  • digitisation costs
  • research costs
  • costs of producing resources such as education packs, exhibitions, pamphlets

We cannot cover the following:

  • existing staff posts or organisational costs
  • statutory and/or legal responsibilities
  • promoting the cause or beliefs of political or faith organisations
  • recoverable VAT
  • costs for any activity that has taken place before the grant has been awarded
  • events that do not demonstrate substantive engagement with the historical context

Follow these steps

  • If you are a first-time applicant, you will first need to register on the portal.
  • Once logged in to the portal select the level of grant you wish to apply for by selecting from the pull-down menu. For the Shared History Fund the levels are:
    • £3,000 to £10,000
    • £10,000 to £100,000
  • Complete the application form provided and use the Shared History Fund application help notes for the level of grant you are applying for.
  • Submit the application to us online (via the portal) before noon on 15 January 2021.
  • Include the supporting documents required. These are outlined at the end of the application help notes for each level of grant.
  • If you require technical assistance with your application, please email
  • Remember, your project must not start until you receive a decision and permission to start your project from us. 

All projects must be complete by 31 March 2022. 

We will begin accepting applications from 20 November 2020 until noon on 15 January 2021. We will aim to assess applications and make decisions by the end of February 2021.

A second round may open if funds are not fully allocated in the first round.

The application guidance should cover everything you need to know. However if you still have questions, we are hosting two free webinars on Monday 30 November and Wednesday 9 December to help explain the scheme and answer any queries you might have. You can register here.

Update: These webinars are now closed. We have collated the key questions and answers which you can use to help you with your application.

If you require technical support with your application, you can email

If you query is regarding our application portal, please contact our support team.