Children at a carnival event

Cultures and memories

Cultures and memories

These are the customs and traditions, skills and knowledge, passed down to us through generations – and adapted to suit our modern lives. They are also our personal histories, the experiences that have shaped us and our society.

Thanks to National Lottery players we have awarded over £340million to more than 21,800 projects exploring our cultures and memories across the UK.

What do we support?

We fund projects which help to explore, save and celebrate the traditions, customs, skills and knowledge of different communities.

This cultural heritage is sometimes referred to as intangible or living heritage. This is because it is constantly changing and kept alive when practiced or performed.

We also fund projects which document and share people’s memories. These projects often involve oral history interviews, capturing people’s stories and opinions digitally, and making sure they are deposited and accessible now and in the future.

Project ideas

Our funding could help people:

  • research and share oral traditions, such as storytelling or local dialects
  • train others in traditional skills and crafts, from dry stone walling and blacksmithing to basket weaving and textile making
  • research the origins of culture, such as music, theatre or dance, and create performances influenced by past styles
  • share the history and fun of celebrations, festivals or rituals with new audiences, from games and cooking to carnivals and fayres
  • capture accounts of traditional knowledge or pass it on, such as woodland management or home remedies
  • record the stories of ordinary people through oral histories, for example about growing up, migration or work
  • retell people’s memories about a place or event, such as a long-stay hospital, the miners' strikes or the punk movement

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We have halted all new grants until at least October 2020. Organisations in need can apply for our £50m Heritage Emergency Fund. Find out more and apply.