Northern Heartlands works with local communities to celebrate and increase their understanding and appreciation of their natural, industrial and cultural heritage.

Northern Heartlands Community Initiative Fund

The fourth and final round closed for applications on 31st May 2019.

Through this fund, Northern Heartlands aims to:

  • Help people and communities influence future change by better understanding their past.
  • Help strengthen people’s sense of belonging and identity in the place/locality/landscape where they live
  • Provide opportunities for communities to come together in projects using arts, culture and heritage to support greater prosperity and/or improved health and well-being
  • Provide opportunities to help arts, culture and heritage organisations to collaborate with each other
  • Help people to have more access to arts, cultural and heritage activities, places and events.

Projects should aim to fulfil one or more of the five aims through exploring the cultural heritage of the area, the landscape, its effect on health and wellbeing and celebration of local distinctiveness. Projects should include an element of arts, culture or heritage; by ‘arts’ we mean visual art, digital art, photography, film, theatre, music, dance, combined arts and crafts, circus skills.

Examples of the types of projects we might support include:

  • Working with a professional artist or arts organisation to celebrate your local landscape, its stories and legends and its importance today
  • Working with agricultural shows to create new cultural elements within their programmes
  • Exploring traditional skills/crafts/music/dance/stories relating to the Northern Heartlands’ area
  • Exhibitions and/or performances that link with our aims
  • Projects exploring the role of the arts and culture and place in our physical and mental health
  • Support for local creative industries and arts/cultural/heritage projects that support economic growth
  • Transport initiatives that enable more people to access arts/cultural/heritage events
  • Projects that include enabling people from outside the area to discover and learn more about the Northern Heartlands area and to visit the area
  • Projects that link with and add value to existing arts and heritage projects and the Durham Festivals such as Brass Festival, Lumiere and Durham Book Festival
  • Projects that link with and add value to the Northern Heartlands Main Programme (Opera North Community Opera/The Bowes Museum Outreach/Remote Villages Projects. See Northern Heartlands’ website for details and latest updates)
  • Projects that help people find out more about their landscape. This could include using a professional artist or arts organisation to help your group undertake a Local Landscape Character Assessment (LLCA)* or create a neighbourhood plan.
  • Projects that use arts, culture or heritage to develop ideas for the future or influence policy making and decisions.

Thank you to all who have applied for round one to four of funding.

Read more about one of the successful funding applications from Round One, Altogether Archaeology.


CIF Round One – Music at the Heart of Teesdale

As part of our on-going revival of folk song and dance traditions in the Teesdale area, our youth folk

CIF Round One – Tow Law Community Association

As part of a yearlong project of Tow Law Community Association ‘Wild Flower’ project supported by Northern Heartland Initiative

CIF Round One – YMCA

The young people of the YMCA have been going round Barnard Castle taking photos with different devices and learning

CIF Round One – At Home With Heritage

At Home with Heritage is a cross-curricular project by St John’s School and Sixth Form College, Bishop Auckland, designed

CIF Round One – Altogether Archaeology

The aim of the group is to promote awareness of the archaeological heritage of the North Pennines and the

CIF Round One – Teesdale Art Net

TeesdaleArtNet, TAN, are a group of artists living or working in Teesdale, at different stages of their artistic careers,

CIF Round One – River Gaunless for People and Wildlife

Funding from the Northern Heartlands Community Initiative Fund has helped enable, particularly through supporting travel costs (often a barrier

CIF Round One – Drama in the Dale

Drama in the Dale have been working on their production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Rehearsals have gone

CIF Round One – Montalbo School Community and School Train Garden

In the Summer term, a group of children from Montalbo Nursery and Primary School interviewed local residents to find