Investing in young people: increased funding for Young Roots programme

HLF has made a number of changes to the £4m programme - which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year - designed to respond to the changing needs of the heritage and youth sectors. These include:

  • An increased UK-wide budget of £4m per year (up from £3m);
  • Project grants of up to £50,000  (raised from £25,000);
  • A wider age range for those who take part,now  from 11 to 25 years (formerly 13-25);
  • A longer period for delivery, now up to two years (formerly 18 months).

Since 2002, more than 65,000 young people across the UK have taken part in 1,250 projects exploring a wide range of topics: from social history and the built and natural environment to archaeology and even the heritage of sport, disability, fashion and culture.

Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of HLF, said: “Over the last 10 years we have seen some great projects come out of Young Roots - led by passionate young people who have been exploring their heritage in new ways while developing skills and confidence. As the future custodians of our heritage, it’s vital that we inspire and equip young people with the resources they need to get involved with heritage in the future. We believe these important changes to the Young Roots programme will help do just that.”

Dame Jenny explained that HLF is keen to hear from local groups who are interested in applying for funding: “Young people can offer a fresh and imaginative approach to local heritage projects, picking up CV-enhancing skills and experience along the way. We want to hear from heritage and youth workers and young people themselves to discuss the type of projects we can support.”

Changes will be in place from 1 April 2012 and have been introduced in response to HLF’s recent strategic framework consultation (2013 – 2019) enabling applicants to adopt a more flexible approach to planning and delivering projects.

HLF anticipates that doubling the grant threshold to £50,000 will provide organisations with greater capacity and the confidence to develop innovative and high quality projects, for example by being able to take on a staff member for the duration of a project. Extending the project length to two years will make it easier for groups to incorporate time for project development and evaluation into their application.

Young Roots is the only programme run by HLF that is designed to target a specific group of individuals. Figures show that there is a significant drop-off in engagement with heritage sites as children move into their teens and early twenties. Young Roots demonstrates that heritage is relevant to young people’s lives by offering creative ways to involve them in learning activities and in exploring things that are important to them.

Young Roots projects can offer a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Encouraging partnerships between heritage and youth organisations. Anyone can apply, from youth groups and community arts groups to museums and environmental organisations;
  • Creating more opportunities for young people to explore and define their heritage in fun and inspiring ways, for example, compiling radio broadcasts; making films; putting on performances; curating exhibitions; and producing publications;
  • Encouraging intergenerational work, helping to bring young and old together to share stories and experiences;
  • Supporting young people to lead projects, helping to build self-esteem, confidence and a connection with their local community;
  • Creating opportunities for young people from all backgrounds to develop skills, both heritage skills such as conservation or archival research and softer, more generic skills linked to IT, team building or public speaking.

Notes to editors

Young Roots HLF programme
In the past 10 years the HLF has awarded more than £27m to Young Roots projects throughout the UK.

Further information 
Please contact Laura Bates or Lydia Davies, HLF press office, on: 020 7591 6027 / 6032, email: /

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