Ensuring our heritage is Fit for the Future

Lead Organisation

Sustainability West Midlands
Project Manager: Alan Carr (Senior Sustainability Adviser)


The National Lottery Heritage Fund has an ambition to be better equipped to assess the sustainability credentials of applications that are submitted by their prospective grantees to obtain funding for their wide-ranging projects. These projects can include refurbishments of a preserved building to the development of an outdoor space to improve recreational use and biodiversity.

As such, the Heritage Fund approached their sustainability membership organisation, Fit for the Future (FFTF), to help them identify a suitable organisation from their membership base to help them appraise applications from across the UK for their sustainability credentials. After liaison with FFTF, SWM was commissioned to provide this appraisal and to date we have done so on four separate occasions, appraising 118 applications in total. We have also provided our ‘top ten tips’ for applicants which we have written for the Heritage Fund website.

Aims of the project

  • Provide an overall assessment of how Grantees have responded to the Heritage Fund’s environmental requirements based on a sample of projects provided.
  • Highlight any examples of good or innovative best practice that can be identified.
  • Highlight any issues or areas of concern for the Heritage Fund to be aware of with recommendations for action.

Results and achievements

As a result of appointing SWM in this role, many outcomes have already been realised. These include the following:

  • Applications are now considered more routinely and in more detail for whether the project seeking funding will have a positive or negative impact on the environment and on sustainability.
  • There is now a greater understanding of the range of actions that can strengthen an applicant’s sustainability credentials.
  • The Heritage Fund has obtained independent recommendations from SWM about how the organisation can ensure future applicants consider sustainability from the outset.
  • The Heritage Fund wants to work more closely with FFTF to demonstrate their commitments and good practice; with SWM being commissioned by FFTF, this fulfils this objective.
  • The Heritage Fund now has a consistent approach to determining the sustainability credentials of all applications as SWM applies a consistent methodology to each assessment. This also allows for us to determine progress over time.

“At the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we recognise the huge importance of ensuring that all prospective grantees consider how their applications will benefit the environment. We worked with Fit for the Future to identify a suitable organisation from their membership base to help us assess applications for their environmental credentials and were very pleased to work with Sustainability West Midlands as a result. They provided us with a detailed overview of how well each application addresses environmental issues as well as a clear, honest and independent assessment of how each applicant could improve and how the Fund can help them to do so.” – Sue Bowers, Director of Investment, National Lottery Heritage Fund

Download the full case study

For further information on the project or to work with us in one of a variety of ways, please contact the SWM team on 0121 237 5890 or enquiries@swm.org.uk.