‘20 years in 12 places’ – New research reveals UK’s heritage helps make us happier

New research by BritainThinks puts heritage at the heart of improving quality of life across the UK over past 20 years.

To coincide with 20 years of investment into the UK’s heritage amounting to over £6billion, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)  commissioned BritainThinks to conduct in-depth research in 12 towns and cities representative of the UK population. The aim was to better understand the public’s view of that National Lottery investment and to see to what extent it had made places better to live and work in or visit.


School children exploring the heritage of the Painted Hall in Greenwich (Image courtesy of HLF)

Key findings:

80% think local heritage makes their area a better place to live

64% think heritage has improved in recent years in terms of how well it is looked after and what it has to offer

50% answered 7 or more out of 10 when asked to rate the impact local heritage sites have on their personal quality of life

Strong support for heritage investment with 76% of regular Lottery players rating the HLF projects in their area a good or excellent use of Lottery funding

Heritage plays a powerful role in bringing people together and helping to improve perceptions of quality of life

Benefits of heritage seen as both transactional and emotional, encouraging local pride and fostering social cohesion

Deborah Mattinson, founder director of Britainthinks, commented: “What’s fascinating is that we found that investing in heritage is making people happier about where they live and that heritage is firmly at the heart of shaping and improving local quality of life across the UK.”

“The research also showed that people react to heritage not only because of the practical benefits it brings, but also in emotional terms. In those places where heritage has a deep, emotional resonance, it provides a way of helping people better understand where they come from, their family and their community. This really matters in the UK today. People’s satisfaction with where they live is perhaps rather high as they are so proud of their home towns and cities.”

To continue reading about this research and to find out more about 20 Years in 12 Places, please visit:

Heritage Lottery Fund

This post was created using content from a press release issued by the Heritage Lottery Fund



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