Heritage Horizon Awards: £50million to five life-changing projects

Aerial view of Plymouth coast with lighthouse and dramatic sunrise
Site of the new marine park at Plymouth. Credit: Chris Gorman/Big Ladder Photography
From the Scottish mountains to England's southwest coast, these big heritage ideas champion environmental, community and cultural heritage as part of our Heritage Horizon Awards.

We are proud to announce the recipients of our Heritage Horizon Awards. Over £50million of funding has been awarded to five transformational projects across the UK.

When we launched the Heritage Horizon Awards in 2019, we set out to fund ideas that unlocked possibility. From innovative farming methods to a UK museum first, these projects do just that.

All five share qualities of huge ambition, significant collaboration and the prospect of life-changing benefits for people and places. This is an exciting day for the UK’s heritage.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund

We've invested in:

Cairngorms 2030: people and nature thriving together – £12,486,100

Silhouette of a cyclist against a sunset
Credit: Ronan Dugan/scotlandbigpicture.com

Set within the UK’s largest National Park, this project will involve over 45 committed partners, ranging from the NHS to Highland and deer management groups. They will work together to tackle the climate emergency and nature crisis, delivering an economy that works for all.

Cairngorms 2030 will preserve the landscape and its rare wildlife by expanding woodland, developing nature-friendly farming and using sustainable transport.

More people will be able to access the area – for example through the creation of a nature-based dementia centre. Communities will be able to take part in plant-growing programmes and be empowered to shape a greener future.

Peatland Progress: A New Vision for the Fens – £8,186,200

Long green reeds and trees by water at Woodwalton Fen
Credit: Robert Enderby

Run by The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, this project will tackle climate change and biodiversity loss by bringing together the north and south ‘halves’ of the Great Fen.

Sustainable wet farming will protect peat soils, preventing soil erosion by locking in carbon. This innovative approach will help improve water quality and support local wildlife.

Peatland Progress will provide new jobs and training, and young people will be inspired to join in the environmental action they see on their doorstep.

Plymouth Sound National Marine Park – £9,582,100

People using paddle boards on the water at Plymouth

The UK’s first National Marine Park will be set in a unique environment where the largest naval base in Europe, fishing boats, historic shipwrecks and fragile sea grass beds co-exist.

The project will revolutionise the way Plymouth interacts with its heritage, promoting a more harmonious relationship with the ocean and creating hundreds of jobs.

It will restore and repurpose two listed buildings and double the size of sea grass beds, contributing to a target of net zero carbon by 2030.

The park in the sea will have five gateway sites, including a welcome centre and wellbeing hub. A range of programmes will help people get on, in and under the water.

Great Yarmouth Winter Gardens: Reimagining the People's Palace – £9,977,100

Exterior of glass and iron winter gardens at Great Yarmouth

The country’s only surviving seaside cast iron and glass winter gardens is in desperate need of repair and is at acute, immediate, risk of loss.

The Grade II* listed structure will be restored to its former glory as a People’s Palace on Great Yarmouth’s seafront, bringing new life to the heart of the town. The year-round attraction will have gardens and seated areas, and offer relaxation, education and entertainment.

The winter gardens will be carbon neutral, and partnerships with catering and events companies will provide a sustainable income.

International Slavery Museum: Igniting Ideas and Action – £9,930,000

Two people looking at a display of images at the International Slavery Museum
Credit: Pete Carr

The International Slavery Museum in Liverpool will be transformed from a collection of galleries into a prominent museum, the first of its kind in the UK. Its move into the historic Dr Martin Luther King Jr building is at the centre of the regeneration of the docklands.

The museum will work with the local community and those most affected by the legacies of slavery in Liverpool, across the UK, and internationally. By telling the challenging stories of enslavement, and celebrating black achievement, it will become a symbolic beacon of hope.

Backing big ideas and unlocking possibilities

The Heritage Horizon Awards – made possible thanks to funding from National Lottery players – were developed to support innovative projects that will revolutionise UK heritage.

Since the pandemic, that ambition has become even more important. These projects will transform lives and economies, putting the UK at the lead of major environmental, cultural and heritage projects. They demonstrate a confidence in the heritage sector to rebuild and thrive.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We were focused on supporting heritage throughout the emergency in 2020, so I am pleased we can now announce awards which back big ideas and unlock possibilities.

“The pandemic has shown us all clearly what matters to us, particularly in relation to nature and climate change. This is a huge priority for us as an organisation, and three of these projects will be transformational for the green environment.

“All five share qualities of huge ambition, significant collaboration and the prospect of life-changing benefits for people and places. This is an exciting day for the UK’s heritage.”

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