The difference we want your project to make

We’re passionate about the difference HLF-funded projects make for heritage, people and communities. That’s why we take account of the outcomes your project will achieve in our assessment.

Outcomes are changes, impacts, benefits or any effects that happen as a result of your project. All of our grant programmes expect projects to achieve one or more of the below outcomes. To find out what difference we expect your project to make, check the application guidance for the grant programme you're applying under.

Outcomes for heritage

Through our funding we want to help sustain and transform the UK’s heritage. Projects we’ve supported have rescued thousands of buildings and places from decay. They have breathed new life into neglected collections, parks and landscapes. And they’ve inspired communities to record and celebrate their stories.

With our investment, heritage will be better managed

There will be clear improvements in the way that you manage heritage. This could include the implementation of plans for management and maintenance, securing additional staff, Trustees or other resources that you need, or the more effective use of existing resources.

How you will know what you have achieved

As a result of these improvements, you will be able to show that the heritage you manage is in a stronger position for the long term including, if appropriate, a stronger financial position. These improvements to managing the heritage are likely to mean that you can meet national or sector quality standards.

With our investment, heritage will be in better condition

There will be improvements to the physical state of your heritage. The improvements might be the result of repair, renovation or work to prevent further deterioration, such as mending the roof of a historic building, conserving an archive, clearing field ditches or repairing a ship. Improvements might also result from new work, for example increasing the size of an existing habitat to benefit priority species, or constructing a new building to protect historic ruins, archaeology or vehicles.

How you will know what you have achieved

The improvements will be recognised through standards used by professional and heritage specialists, and/or by people more generally, for example in surveys of visitors or local residents.

With our investment, heritage will be better interpreted and explained

There will be clearer explanations and/or new or improved ways to help people make sense of heritage. This might include new displays in a museum; a smartphone app with information about the biodiversity and geodiversity of a landscape; talks or tours in a historic building; an accessible guide to a historic house; or online information about archives.

How you will know what you have achieved

Visitors and users will tell you that the interpretation and information you provide are high quality, easy-to-use and appropriate for their needs and interests, that they enhance their understanding, and that they improve their experience of heritage.

With our investment, heritage will be identified/recorded

The heritage of a place, a person or a community will have been located/uncovered and/or there will be a record of heritage available to people now and in the future. This might include identifying places or collections that are of relevance to a particular community and making information about them available; documenting languages or dialects; recording people’s memories as oral history; surveying species or habitats and making the survey data available; cataloguing and digitising archives; making a record of a building or archaeological site; or recording the customs or traditions of a place or community.

How you will know what you have achieved?

Heritage that was previously hidden, not well known, or not accessible will now be available to the public; visitors or users will tell you that this is an important part of our heritage and that they value it.

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Outcomes for people

We believe that people from all communities should be able to see their heritage reflected in our national story. The projects we fund inspire young people to learn and get involved with heritage. They help people find fulfilling volunteer roles and develop skills, and create thousands of opportunities for an enjoyable day out.

With our investment, people will have:

With our investment, people will have developed skills

Individuals will have gained skills relevant to ensuring heritage is better looked after, managed, understood or shared (including, among others, conservation, teaching/training, maintenance, digital and project management skills). Structured training activities could include an informal mentoring programme, on-the-job training or external short courses.

How you will know what you have achieved

People involved in your project, including staff and volunteers, will be able to demonstrate competence in new, specific skills, and where appropriate, will have gained a formal qualification.

With our investment, people will have learnt about heritage

Individuals will have developed their knowledge and understanding of heritage because you have given them opportunities to experience heritage in ways that meet their needs and interests.

How you will know what you have achieved

Adults, children and young people who took part in the project, or who are visiting your site or engaging with your heritage in other ways, eg through digital technology, will be able to tell you what they have learnt about heritage and what difference this makes to them and their lives. They will also be able to tell you what they are doing with that knowledge and understanding; such as, sharing it with other people, using it in their professional or social life, or undertaking further study.

With our investment, people will have changed their attitudes and/or behaviour

Individuals will think differently about heritage or your community, will have changed what they do in their everyday lives, or will have been inspired to take some form of personal action.

How you will know what you have achieved

You will be able to show that these changes have come about as a result of their experience in your project from the stories people tell you themselves. For example, some people may have a different perception of the importance of biodiversity or of the contribution made by young people in the community; others may have started doing conservation work or stopped vandalising a local memorial. They may have joined the management group of your Friends organisation, decided on a career in heritage or got involved in other community projects.

With our investment, people will have had an enjoyable experience

People involved in your project will have found it fun, interesting and rewarding. You will provide an enjoyable experience through the welcome you offer, through good customer service, and by having the right resources and equipment for people to get involved with heritage.

How you will know what you have achieved

People will tell you they enjoyed the opportunities for social interaction; they liked being part of a team achieving something; they enjoyed learning about heritage; and they were able to celebrate their achievements. Adults, children and young people engaging with your project will tell you that their visit met or exceeded their expectations; that they liked it enough to visit or take part again; or that they encouraged other people to get involved.

With our investment, people will have volunteered time

Individuals will be contributing their time and talent and will find it a rewarding experience. They will give their time to activities at all different levels – from project leadership and management to helping at events or creating a website.

How you will know what you have achieved

Volunteers will be able to report personal benefits whatever their experience, background and level of engagement. These might include: new skills; increased confidence; a sense of purpose; enhanced wellbeing; a feeling of making a contribution to heritage and society; or influencing the success of your project and the way it is regarded in the community.

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Outcomes for communities

Heritage is at the heart of the tourism industry, attracting overseas visitors and bringing investment into local economies. Heritage projects can re-energise neglected areas, creating vibrant places to live and work. And they can foster a real sense of community.

With our investment environmental impacts will be reduced

You will have minimised the environmental impacts of your heritage/site and, if possible, reduced them from a current or baseline position, in the key areas of: energy and water use, and visitor transport. If your project is site- based, you will have taken opportunities to enhance the biodiversity (habitats and species) of the site.

How you will know what you have achieved

At the end of your project you will report on the resources used. You will also be able to demonstrate a reduction in carbon emissions generated by your site. 

With our investment more people and a wider range of people will have engaged with heritage

There will be more people engaging with heritage and this audience will be more diverse than before your project. Changes will have come about as a direct result of your project, particularly your audience development work and community consultation, by collecting and analysing information about the people who engage with your heritage – and those who don’t – before, during and after your project.

How you will know what you have achieved

You will be able to show that your audience profile has changed; for example, it includes people from a wider range of ages, ethnicities and social backgrounds; more disabled people; or groups of people who have never engaged with your heritage before. You will be able to show how more people, and different people, engage with heritage as visitors, participants in activities, or volunteers, both during your project and once it has finished.

With our investment your local area/community will be a better place to live, work or visit

Local residents will have a better quality of life and overall the area will be more attractive. As a result of improving the appearance of heritage sites or of the opportunities you have provided for local people to visit, use, get involved with, and enjoy heritage, residents will report that they feel greater pride in the local area and/or have a stronger sense of belonging.

How you will know what you have achieved

Community members will report a greater sense of shared understanding and a better sense of getting on with each other. Visitors to your heritage project will also tell you that the area has improved as a direct result of the project, as well as what they value about it.

With our investment your local economy will be boosted

There will be additional income for existing local businesses and/or there will be new businesses in your local area. You will be able to show that local businesses have benefited from your project. This will be because you spent your grant locally, or because you encouraged more tourism visits to the local area, or because you provided new premises for businesses that moved into the area or expanded their operations within it.

How you will know what you have achieved

You will be able to show that these changes have come about as a direct result of your project using information about the local economy before and after your project available from organisations such as the local authority or tourism organisation.

With our investment your organisation will be more resilient

Your organisation will have greater capacity to withstand threats and to adapt to changing circumstances to give you a secure future. You will achieve this greater resilience through stronger governance and greater local involvement in your organisation; increased management and staff skills; fresh sources of expertise and advice; and working in partnership to share services, staff and resources.

How you will know what you have achieved

You might have new volunteers who increase your capacity and skills; or new sources of income through commercial activity, endowments or new fundraising programmes. You will be able to show that your organisation is stronger and in a better position for the future as a result of the changes you made as part of your project.

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