What we do

We distribute the heritage share of National Lottery funding, supporting a wide variety of projects across the UK.

Since our foundation in 1994, thanks to National Lottery players we have awarded £7.9billion to over 43,000 projects.

We believe that understanding, valuing and sharing our heritage brings people together, inspires pride in communities and boosts investment in local economies. 

The projects we fund vary from restoring natural landscapes to rescuing neglected buildings, from recording diverse community histories to providing life-changing training.

“Our heritage should be protected for the future, and we believe that everyone should have the chance to explore and look after it.”

Our heritage should be protected for the future, and our aim is that everyone should have the chance to explore and look after it.

Our history 

Since its launch in 1994, the National Lottery has provided funds for good causes. Our parent body, the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) allocates Lottery funds to heritage; HLF is the distributor.

HLF is a non-departmental public body accountable to Parliament via the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Although we are not a government department, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport issues financial and policy instructions to us, and we report to Parliament through DCMS. 

Our decisions about individual applications and policies are entirely independent of the Government.

Highlights so far:

  • More than 3,000 people undertaking work-based training in heritage skills, including 28 projects with a value of £13.9m that have supported the development of museum skills

  • Over 19,500 historic buildings and monuments restored

  • Over 3,200 projects funded to help conserve threatened habitats and species and over 850 public parks revitalised

  • All ten of the most popular major heritage attractions across the UK have been supported by HLF

  • Visitor numbers across the first 100 major Grants to complete rose by 130%. Local tourism businesses are receiving an extra £480m in revenue as a result of these increased visits - creating an extra 9,600 new jobs.

     

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