Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon included in £200m commitment launched by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help areas across the UK thrive


Today, Monday 9 October 2023, the National Lottery Heritage Fund is starting a 10-year journey within the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area that will transform its heritage, through the new Heritage Places initiative. Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area is one of the first nine places set to benefit from a share of £200m targeted to unlock the potential of their heritage.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area, Northern Ireland’s second-largest local government district, combines urban and rural landscapes. Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is dedicated to advancing place-shaping through heritage and culture.

Building on almost 30 years of experience, research and learning from the largest funder of the UK’s heritage, Heritage Places will provide early funding to engage communities and develop partnerships which unlock possibilities from the heritage on their doorstep.

It will seek out opportunities that have the potential to draw in and benefit from wider investment and support new projects and collaborations helping to address issues such as regeneration, sustainability and employment. Centred on the unique heritage of a place, Heritage Places is set to ignite people’s imagination, offer joy and inspiration and build pride in place by connecting the past with the future.

Responsive to specific local needs, the initiative encourages a holistic approach and will bring heritage, cultural, community and civic organisations together to combine their knowledge, experience, and investment to transform heritage.

From an iconic city centre street to green spaces and seaside towns, the first nine of 20 Heritage Places across the UK are: Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon; County Durham; Glasgow; Leicester; Medway; Neath Port Talbot; North East Lincolnshire; Stoke-on-Trent; and Torbay.

A further 11 Heritage Places will be considered as part of the development of the Heritage Fund’s next three-year delivery plan, making a total of 20.

Dr Paul Mullan, Director, Northern Ireland at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “So often we’ve seen that when our investments contribute to the long-term vision for a place, the benefits can be profound and long-lasting.

We’ve experienced this across Northern Ireland with our capital investment in town centre regeneration projects in places like Donaghadee, Carrickfergus and Richhill.

We’ve forged landscape partnerships from Lough Erne to Slieve Gullion, the Glens of Antrim to the Mourne Mountains funding projects that connected communities with their local heritage.

Now, by taking a long-term view and committing to working in partnership in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area, we’re embarking on a journey to tackle long-standing heritage issues at scale.”

Mukesh Sharma, Chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Northern Ireland, said: “It’s exciting to think about what can be achieved over the coming years in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area through strong partnership and targeted investment.

Heritage Places builds on our track record of delivering successful projects across Northern Ireland. On this local level, we are committing to additional and targeted long-term investment in regenerative heritage projects.

We hope that the impact of this new investment in communities and places will continue to inspire open programme applications to fund heritage projects across Northern Ireland.”

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council Lord Mayor, Alderman Margaret Tinsley said: ‘We are excited to hear that the area covered by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council will be one of the Heritage Places supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. This provides an opportunity for organisations from right across the Council area to work together to achieve a long-term vision for heritage.

“We look forward to building upon the many heritage assets our Council area rightly boasts and elevating those which have yet to be championed. We encourage organisations to continue to make a positive impact and shape the story of this place in partnership with The National Lottery Heritage Fund.’

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage is as much about the future as it is the past. With the 10-year sustained investment offered by Heritage Places, the areas announced today can be sure that we will work with communities and partners to target place-based investment that boosts pride in place, connects communities with heritage, and takes confident strides forward using heritage as the foundation for change.”

Heritage Places is one of the long-term initiatives The National Lottery Heritage Fund will be introducing as part of its new 10-year strategy, Heritage 2033, to help address the challenges heritage faces and increase the contribution it makes to people and places.