Thriving Places

A variety of people enjoying a park with a lake
Thomson Park, Burnley. Credit: Burnley Borough Council
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 in 2021-22. 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. 

Three children hold tomatoes to their noses

Projects

Cynon Valley nature spot is a wellbeing wonder

A derelict site in Cynon Valley has been transformed into a community garden full of people, nature and wildlife – and is now the perfect place for boosting mental health.

Crowd watching aerial performance
Design visual of the Wondrous Stories production. Credit: Motionhouse and Birmingham 2022 Festival

Projects

Birmingham 2022 Festival: spotlighting creativity in the West Midlands

Running from March to September 2022, the £12million festival will feature hundreds of artistic commissions, engaging a local and national audience with Birmingham’s cultural heritage.

Long green grass and rushes surrounding water at Woodwalton Fen
Woodwalton Fen. Credit: Robert Enderby

Projects

Peatland Progress: A New Vision for the Fens

We have awarded more than £8million to this ground-breaking project that addresses climate change, carbon emissions, biodiversity loss and the mental health and wellbeing of young people.

Three people look down over a valley with mountains in the distance
Braemar view. Credit: Cameron Cosgrove

Projects

Cairngorms 2030: people and nature thriving together

We have awarded nearly £12.5million to a life-changing project aiming to preserve the UK’s biggest National Park, bringing communities together to help nature and improve wellbeing.

Sunrise over Plymouth
Site of the new marine park at Plymouth. Credit: Chris Gorman/Big Ladder Photography

Projects

Building Plymouth Sound, the UK’s first National Marine Park

We are granting £9.5million to support the creation of Plymouth Sound's 'Park in the Sea', helping communities and tackling the effects of climate change.

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