Northern Ireland

The Great Place Scheme will fund cultural and heritage projects in places that aim to make a lasting difference to the many varied things from the past that we value and want to pass onto the future. By working together, projects will strengthen the link between the communities aiming to make a lasting difference to heritage and people, leading to the environmental and social benefits that heritage projects can accomplish.

This is a pilot scheme. It will fund activities which can be built on in the future, and whose learning can be shared with other places.


The Great Place Scheme will enable heritage and cultural organisations to change how they work together, and with organisations in other places, to allow heritage and culture to contribute more to meeting local environmental, economic and social aspirations.

What will the Great Place Scheme do?

To achieve the following the Great Place Scheme will invest in between two and four places across Northern Ireland to:

  • Grow the heritage and cultural sectors to boost partnerships and maximise their positive environmental, economic and social improvements.
  • To co-operate and create new partnerships in order to lever resources into the Northern Ireland.
  • Develop associations between heritage and place-based initiatives allowing Northern Ireland to put heritage and culture at the heart of their future vision.

How much funding is available?

You can apply for between £100,000 and £500,000 for activity to be delivered over a period of up to three years.

The application process has several key stages: You must submit a preliminary application and then selected applicants will be invited to pitch their idea to a local panel before being invited to complete a full application form.

Geographical focus

The aim in Northern Ireland is to support successful applications from a range of separate places in order to participate in the programme. The Great Place Scheme is a pilot.

Thinking creatively we invite you to think about which geographies you might operate in. This could be across more than one council, or the relationship between an urban area and adjoining rural areas. You will need to work out the size and the boundaries of the ‘place’ where your project will be delivered. A case should be made on why the geography you have chosen is relevant and meaningful in the light of the Great Place Scheme.

The size of a place should be studied to ensure ample resources and impact can be made through the project. A place could be:

  • A consortium of local council areas
  • A single local council area
  • A city or town and its hinterland
  • A grouping of rural towns / villages
  • A landscape designation or conservation area
  • Wards from one neighbourhood or different neighbourhoods

How to apply

In order to apply for this Scheme, you must submit a preliminary application form by midday 25 August 2017. This can be found on the Great Place Scheme Northern Ireland website.

Following a sift of the preliminary applications selected applicants will be invited to present their project proposals to the panel during the week beginning 4 September. The panel will then invite a number of applicants to submit a full application.

If you are invited to proceed with a full application the online application form will be available from 8 September 2017. Applications must be submitted by midday on 6 December 2017.

Frequently asked questions

Who can apply?

Partnerships led by a not-for-profit organisation. See the application guidance (section 3) for more details.

What types of activity will the Great Place Scheme support?

We expect most of the activities supported will involve talking to local people such as through community-based discussions and events; investigating new ideas such as exploring the role of heritage in the local economy; creating new tools such as enabling heritage organisations to work with commissioners in co-producing frameworks for social outcomes; and building capacity among local communities to engage with heritage. More ideas are in the application guidance section 4.

When will decisions be made?

The deadline for a preliminary application form is 25 August 2017 and for full applications is 6 December 2017. We expect to announce the two to four successful places by the end of March 2018.

Does all partnership funding need to be in place at the point of application?

No. We would expect to see 75% committed to the Scheme when the full application is submitted. The end of December 2018 is the deadline for the remainder to be secured.

The preliminary application form has a word limit of 500 words. What does this cover?

The word limit applies only to Section 3, where we ask you to outline your proposals. Information such as your project title, information about your contact person, organisational details and likely grant request can be additional to this.