Thriving Places

Thriving Places

People sitting in a sunny park, near a bandstand
We are committed to supporting heritage projects that create better places to live, work and visit.

What we mean by place 

‘Place’ can mean many things, and definitions vary depending on where you are or who you ask. But examples include a local community, a natural landscape or an entire city. 

How heritage supports great places 

Many areas across the UK have a ‘sense of place’ that inspires local pride and increases wellbeing. 
Heritage sits at the heart of a place’s identity, adding depth, character and value. This can include buildings and monuments, landscapes, high streets and parks.  

Heritage helps connect people and communities to a place and boosts local economic prosperity.  

Our funding for heritage projects  

We welcome projects that take a 'place-based approach'. Place-based working is about: 

  • identifying challenges and opportunities in the heritage of a place 
  • developing responses which bring about benefits for both the heritage and the place 
  • thinking beyond an individual project by considering how it relates to your local area and community
  • partnering or coordinating with other organisations to increase the impact of your project

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made this way of working more important than ever. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on communities and local economies in places across the UK.  

The heritage sector can play a leading role in their recovery, which is why we refocused our priorities for our National Lottery Grants for Heritage. We are now prioritising projects with outcomes that create better places to live, work and visit, and boost local economies.

See our funding programmes to find out how to apply.

A place funder, not just a project funder

We also support place-based working by: 

  • devolving decision-making, which enables locally based staff, with local expertise, to assess applications and make awards 
  • addressing under-representation in our funding of geographical areas experiencing deprivation 
  • working with local councils and others to connect our funding to wider local priorities  
  • working with national partners and agencies on major place-based initiatives 

Running a place-based project 

Need help or inspiration?  

You can find useful guidance here: 

And discover how heritage can create better places in the project examples below. 

Newham family being photographed during Newham Heritage Month


AOF2020: London Borough of Newham

Newham Heritage Month is an annual heritage festival that celebrates the borough’s local heritage, led by the community for the community.

Child playing on a beach with families attending a beach scavenger hunt


Areas of Focus

We are supporting our Areas of Focus across the UK by increasing access to our funding, and helping to deliver positive outcomes through their local heritage.