The impact of the Historic Environment Fund Revival Stream

The Revival Stream was set out to ‘promote the social value of heritage’ in Northern Ireland. £300,670 was invested in 22 projects over the six years between the launch of the Historic Environment Fund in 2016 and 2023.

Historic Environment Fund Revival Stream

Below are a selection of projects which have been funded through the Historic Environment Fund’s Revival Stream.

District councils

Support has been provided by the Department to two district councils (Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council & Derry City and Strabane Borough Council) to develop projects to highlight the importance of maintenance for historic buildings. Both were very creative and successful, producing materials, seminars, and publishing guides on practical work to buildings.

The value of heritage

Investment has been made over several years in supporting Ulster Architectural Heritage to set up and develop the Heritage Angels Awards 2024 the NI part of a UK wide project principally funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. The application and ceremony process highlighted the contribution of dedicated individuals across a range of categories and was enhanced by an innovative partnership between the Ulster Architectural Heritage and the arts sector to deliver associated songs, poetry, and presentations. We also invested in an additional award to highlight good maintenance work on behalf of the Historic Buildings Council.

Support was also provided in 2021 to the Council for British Archaeology for its Archaeology Achievement Awards.


Examples of Revival projects include community archaeology related work. Much of this was the result of pre-engagement and encouragement by our archaeologists and most proposals were supported. This resulted in the delivery of a number of projects two of which were later the recipients of awards (‘Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits - mapping the landscape’, and ‘Homes fit for Hero’s mapping the landscape of Cleenish Island’s ex-servicemen resettlement programme’).

Projects were also supported to involve a community in building a replica of a Neolithic longhouse in Creggan Co Tyrone, research the location of homes of Presbyterians along the Bann valley who left in the first wave of migration to America in 1718, and a project to research, remove vegetation and present the old church at Magheradrool near Ballynahinch, Co Down. In 2019, a project to consider the landscape of Boom Hall, site of the famous boom at the Siege of Derry was supported.

Heritage and the arts

The European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 provided an opportunity for the Department to partner with Tourism NI and the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to support innovative partnership projects that linked heritage with the arts. Each partner contributed £100,000 to a fund that was supplemented and managed by NLHF to support 16 projects. This support was issued outside of the Historic Environment Fund, but £13,500 from the Revival Stream was used to support a third of the cost of a joint conference the following year to consider the lessons emerging and the potential for future partnership working. Much innovation emerged from this work, particularly in relation to the digital enhancement of sites.

Thematic Revival projects

Two groups have been supported by the Department to celebrate and highlight issues faced by the owners of vernacular buildings. One council developed a programme to examine the issues faced by historic graveyards, an area underrepresented in standard guidance and where many councils (the landowners of many such sites) have health and safety concerns. Support was provided for a seminar on defence heritage and, as part of heritage skills engagement, to deliver a seminar to builders in partnership with Chartered Institute of Building encouraging heritage accreditation and training. A seminar with UK archaeologists promoting training for the profession was also supported.

In 2024, the Department Supported CITB to produce infographics and training on the theme of ‘Older Buildings for a Greener Future’.

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