National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund, formerly the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), distributes a share of National Lottery funding, supporting a wide range of heritage projects across the United Kingdom.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Non-departmental public body overview
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom
HeadquartersInternational House, 1 St Katharine's Way, London E1W 1UN[1]
Non-departmental public body executives

Since it was set up in 1994, under the National Lottery Act, it has awarded over £7.1billion to more than 40,000 projects, large and small, helping people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect their heritage.

The fund supports all kinds of projects, as long as they make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities. These vary from restoring natural landscapes to rescuing neglected buildings, from recording diverse community histories to providing life-changing skills training.


The income of all the National Lottery distributors comes from the sale of National Lottery tickets. Of every £2 spent on a ticket, 56 pence (28 per cent) goes to the "good causes". The current operator of the National Lottery is Camelot Group.

The fund is responsible for distributing 20 per cent of funds raised for "good causes". This amount varies from year to year, depending on National Lottery income, and is in the region of £300m per year.


The Heritage Fund provides grants to not-for-profit organisations in response to applications for funding. It uses a variety of methods to distribute funding. Most of its grants go to voluntary and community organisations which apply within a range of funding programmes. However, in certain cases to meet a specific need, it will also seek applications from organisations with recognised expertise or make a substantial grant to a partner to award funds on its behalf. Ninety percent of the fund’s grant decisions are made locally. Decisions about its strategic direction, and grant applications over £2 million, are made by the Trustees of the NHMF. Funding decisions under £2million are taken by local committees and staff across the nine English regions and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


The Heritage Fund is a non-departmental public body accountable to Parliament via the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Although it is not a government department, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport issues financial and policy directions to the organisation, which reports to Parliament through the Department. Decisions about individual applications and policies are entirely independent of the Government.

The fund is administered by a pre-existing non-departmental public body, the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF).

The chief executive is Ros Kerslake OBE and its board of trustees is chaired by Sir Peter Luff.


The Heritage Fund has offices across the UK. Its head office is in London but it also has local offices across the English regions and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Funding programmes

The Heritage Fund provides grants from £3,000 to over £5million, which include:

Sharing Heritage – grants from £3,000 to £10,000, to help discover and share local heritage. This can be anything from recording personal memories to conserving wildlife.

Our Heritage – grants from £10,000 to £100,000. Projects can focus on anything from personal memories and cultural traditions to archaeological sites, museum collections and rare wildlife.

Heritage Grants – grants of over £100,000 for larger heritage projects of any kind. Examples of high-profile Heritage Grant recipients include: Stonehenge Visitor Centre (£10m); renovation of York Minster, including the 600-year-old Great East Window (£10m); preservation and display of the Mary Rose (£26m); restoration of St George's Market, Belfast (£2m); refurbishment of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow (£13m); and redevelopment of the Royal Naval Dockyard Church (£4m).

The organisation has a range of targeted grant programmes which fund projects with a particular focus, including: First World War; parks; landscapes; young people; and community heritage. Its Heritage Enterprise and Townscape Heritage programmes focus on place-based regeneration. The fund's Resilient Heritage and Heritage Endowment programmes aim to support the long-term financial sustainability of the UK's heritage.


The Heritage Fund has published research into the value and importance of heritage in the UK today, and the role heritage can play in modern life. Recent research includes:


  1. "Contact us". The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  2. "Our people". The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
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