Heritage organisations

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage through innovative investment in projects with a lasting impact on people and places. As the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, with around £375million a year to invest in new projects and a considerable body of knowledge, we are also a leading advocate for the value of heritage to modern life. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our heritage.

Through our grant making we aim to:

  • Conserve the UK’s diverse heritage for present and future generations to experience and enjoy
  • Help more people, and a wider range of people, to take an active part in and make decisions about their heritage
  • Help people to learn about their own and other people’s heritage

The Heritage Lottery Fund is administered by the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) which was given the responsibility of distributing a share of money raised through the National Lottery for Good Causes, to heritage across the UK. We are a non-departmental public body accountable to Parliament via the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Areas of interest

What we fund

We fund projects which focus on heritage. Heritage includes many different things from the past that we value and want to pass on to future generations, for example:

  • People’s memories and experiences (often recorded as ‘oral history’ or spoken history);
  • Histories of people and communities (including people who have migrated to the UK);
  • Languages and dialects;
  • Cultural traditions such as stories, festivals, crafts, music, dance and costumes;
  • Histories of places and events;
  • Historic buildings and streets;
  • Archaeological sites;
  • Collections of objects, books or documents in museums, libraries or archives;
  • Natural and designed landscapes and gardens;
  • Wildlife, including special habitats and species; and
  • Places and objects linked to our industrial, maritime and transport history.

Our grant programmes

We fund heritage projects of all sizes, with grants from £3,000 to over £5million.

We want to support projects that make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities.

Our Heritage (£3,000 to £100,000)

This is our general small grants programme for all types of heritage projects. It is a flexible programme particularly designed for voluntary and community groups and first-time applicants.

Sharing Heritage (£3,000 to £10,000) From April 2013

This new grants programme is for any not-for-profit group wanting to explore, share and celebrate their community’s heritage.

Heritage Grants (Grants of over £100,000)

This is our open programme for grants over £100,000, for any type of project related to the national, regional, or local heritage in the UK.

Young Roots (£3,000 to £50,000)

This programme is for projects led by young people. It aims to involve 11-25 year-olds in finding out about their heritage, developing skills, building confidence and promoting community involvement.

All Our Stories (Grants from £3,000 to £10,000)

All Our Stories is an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With our funding and support you could plan activities that help you explore, share and celebrate yours.

Townscape Heritage Initiative (£100,000 to £2,000,000)

Townscape Heritage Initiative makes grants that help communities to regenerate Conservation Areas displaying particular social and economic need.

Heritage Enterprise (£100,000 to £5,000,000) From April 2013

The Heritage Enterprise programme is for projects that seek to bring back historic buildings into active commercial use, helping to improve the local built environment whilst at the same time stimulating economic growth in under-performing areas across the UK.

Parks for People (£100,000 to £5million)

Parks for People is for projects related to historic parks and cemeteries in the UK.

Landscape Partnerships (£250,000 to £2million)

This programme supports schemes that are led by partnerships of local, regional and national interests, which aim to conserve areas of distinctive landscape character throughout the UK.

Skills for the Future (£100,000 to £1million)

Skills for the Future funds projects which provide training placements to meet skills shortages in the heritage sector, and fully support trainees to learn practical skills.

Grants for Places of Worship (£10,000 to £250,000)

The Grants for Places of Worship programme is for projects that involve urgent structural repairs to places of worship that are at risk. As part of a repair project we can also fund work to encourage greater community use and engagement.

Catalyst (Various)

The Catalyst grants initiatives form part of a broader partnership initiative between HLF, DCMS and Arts Council England (ACE). It aims to encourage more private giving to culture and heritage, and to build the capacity and skills of cultural and heritage organisations to fundraise from private donors, corporate sources, trusts and foundations.