Investing in heritage for wellbeing

Investing in heritage for wellbeing

Heritage can improve wellbeing for people across the UK and make a significant contribution to the way we feel about our lives.

What is wellbeing?

We use evidence from the What Works Centre, which describes wellbeing as ‘how we’re doing’ – on an individual level, community level and collectively across the UK, and how sustainable that is for the future.

Wellbeing sums up our feelings of contentment, enjoyment and self-confidence which leads to strong relationships and engagement with the world around us.

Heritage is about that feeling of belonging, knowing that this is your place and understanding how your history fits within wider history. It is a part of being human.

Laura Drysdale, Director of the Restoration Trust, leading on the Water Mills and Marshes Landscape Partnership project.

Heritage’s role in wellbeing

Heritage can build connectedness to where you live, to people around you or to a community online. It can support individual confidence and self-esteem, and provide opportunities to be mentally and physically active.

Heritage can also help us find meaning and purpose in our lives. Both are significant aspects in how we experience wellbeing.

Examples include:

  • volunteering activities at heritage sites to combat loneliness
  • visiting land and nature to get some fresh air and improve mental health
  • creative courses or learning opportunities to build knowledge and skills – such as museum collection handling sessions
  • co-producing heritage events, for example young people-led activities at heritage sites

Find out more in our wellbeing guidance.

Here are some of the inspirational projects we’ve funded from across the UK that support wellbeing. If you've got an idea, we'd love to hear from you.

Two people look at an overgrown pond, one person is wearing waders
Restoring a green space in Brighton. Photo: The Wild Mind Project.


Wild Mind LGBTQ+ natural heritage wellbeing workshops

The Wild Mind Project is restoring a neglected green space in Brighton through nature programmes for the young LGBTQ+ community.

Adults with complex care needs in a garden
It can be hard for people with complex disabilities and medical conditions to access nature and heritage.


Sense’s project blossoms in National Trust gardens

‘Internal Gardens’ used wearable technology to help people with complex disabilities create tactile connections with natural heritage.

Two people holding a sign for a local community organisation standing outside a historic pub building
Work is starting to restore the Y Plu pub and transform it into a local cultural hub


Saving a 200-year-old community pub on the Llŷn Peninsula

Our funding is helping the Menter y Plu Community Benefit Society plan how to save and re-develop a Grade II listed pub – Y Plu.

Architectural drawing of a stone and timber clad building showing how the historic stableblock will look when developed into The Gardeners' House
Architectural drawing of The Gardeners' House.


The Gardeners' House: connecting people with nature

£2.2million has been awarded to create a new green community hub in Penzance, housing 200 years of Cornwall’s natural heritage and a sensory garden.