Following a nomination process which began in February, the heritage category of the 25th annual National Lottery Awards has been whittled down to ten finalists. Located across a variety of regions and sectors, the selected ten are now vying to be declared the best project of 2019 to receive support from the National Lottery.

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The 2019 finalists

St Ann’s Allotments

Situated just outside Nottingham city centre, St Ann’s Allotments was founded in 1830, making it the oldest collection of Victorian detached town gardens in the UK, and one of the biggest urban allotment sites in the world. National Lottery funding facilitated its restoration and renovation and the site now hosts 670 allotment gardens over 75 acres. 540 are let to gardeners, with the rest operating as conservation sites for wildlife or for community and heritage projects.

Back from the Brink

A unique initiative in the UK, Back from the Brink has carried out by 19 projects at more than 40 sites in England, aiming to save 20 of the UK’s most endangered animals, plants and fungi from extinction. Having begun in 2017, some of the creatures focused on thus far include the grey long-eared bat, field cricket, barberry carpet moth, black-tailed godwit, pine marten and shrill carder bee.

Froglife

A UK-wide charity focused on the conservation of native amphibians and reptiles, Froglife also works to change attitudes to landscapes and ecosystems which are home to a huge variety of animals. The charity is particularly keen to expand the public’s understanding of animals less talked about, to guard against loss of vital habitats, pollution, disease, exploitation, and persecution.

Brooke Park

Opened in 1840, Derry’s Brooke Park was originally the site of a boys orphanage before it became a municipal park 61 years later. The 1970s and 80s were particularly tough on the park, which saw it fall increasingly into disrepair. 2015 saw a two-year regeneration project turn its fortunes around, with annual visitor numbers now approaching 200,000.

The Mourne Mountains Landscape Partnership Scheme

Established to conserve the diverse environment and cultural heritage of County Down’s Mourne Mountains, said to have inspired C.S. Lewis to pen the Narnia series. This scheme has a mission statement to connect local communities with the landscape, revive traditional skills, and facilitate innovative new ways of celebrating the region.

The Orchard Project

With a vision to reinvigorate London’s lost orchards, The Orchard Project is a charity seeking to return beauty, wildlife and a sustainable food source for local people to the English capital. The task is sizeable, with almost none of the city’s orchards remaining apart from on a few sites such as hospital grounds and former stately homes. The charity’s work is currently focused on engaging different generations in a common purpose and teaching new skills.

York Minster Revealed

A five-year project which included one of the largest conservation and restoration projects of its kind in Europe, York Minster Revealed sought to replace and repair stonework on the 600-year-old East End of the city’s famous cathedral. Further work on vast expanses of stained glass windows, a project to transform the visitor experience, and opening up access to the Minster was also conducted.

St Fagans National Museum of History

2019 has already been a significant year for Wales’ largest and most popular heritage attraction, having already been crowned Art Fund’s Museum of the Year. Just outside Cardiff, St Fagans opened in 1948 and now plays host to 50 original buildings from different different historical periods that have been re-built in the 100-acre parkland surrounding St Fagans Castle.

The Mary Rose

Giving visitors a glimpse into Tudor life, The Mary Rose museum has been open in Portsmouth since 2013 and displays the iconic ship’s hull alongside thousands of her unique artefacts. Said to have been Henry VIII’s favourite warship, The Mary Rose was raised from The Solent in 1982 with 60 million people watching live on television.

The Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre

The result of over 20 years work by the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association,  Yorkshire’s Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre tells the story of the Holocaust through the eyes of 16 refugees and survivors who later made their homes in northern England. Run in partnership with the University of Huddersfield, the centre offers learning and community programmes to promote understanding and challenge prejudice and discrimination.

The winner of each category wins £10,000 for their project and gets the added publicity of appearing on a BBC One Awards show in November. Alongside the Heritage Award, prizes in the categories of; Arts, Culture and Film; Sports; and Community & Charity will also be given at the ceremony later this year.

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