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Norwich Heart, Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust


Vote for Heritage Open Days and help unlock heritage for communities in Norwich and Norfolk

Monday, 11th May 2015

Vote for Heritage Open Days and help unlock heritage for communities in Norwich and NorfolkVote for Heritage Open Days and help unlock heritage for communities in Norwich and NorfolkVote for Heritage Open Days and help unlock heritage for communities in Norwich and Norfolk

Norwich’s Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust (HEART) is in the running for an award from the Aviva Community Fund and needs public support to secure funding for the annual Heritage Open Days (HODs) festival.

The Aviva Community Fund allows members of the public to vote for the community projects they wish to see funded. The projects with the most votes will then go on to be judged by a panel and move a step closer towards the Aviva Community Fund jackpot.

The public vote takes place during May 2015 on the Aviva Community Fund website. Every voter gets 10 votes to be cast in support of a single cause or spread out over several projects. Voting closes on 30th May, so there is limited time to lend your support to a community project near you.

HEART has coordinated HODs since 2004 when it consisted of only 12 events in Norwich. Fast forward ten years and HEART has successfully developed it into a festival of 220+ events across the county, making it the biggest HODs programme outside London.

Around 50,000 people attended the 4 day event in 2014. 40 volunteers helped coordinate events from HEART’s base in The Guildhall, while a further 1,000+ volunteers helped out across the county to make the massive programme of events possible. 

2015 is the Trust’s eleventh year of coordinating the festival, which runs from Thursday 10th – Sunday 13th September. HEART allocates some of its own funds to help the cost of delivering HODs, but as a charitable organisation would benefit from funding to help deliver this much-loved community event.

With funding, the dedicated HODs team can deliver a four day festival event that: 

  • Introduces people of all ages, abilities and incomes to their local heritage 
  • Encourages people to try new experiences including volunteering and event organising 
  • Introduces local communities to each other and encourages interaction 
  • Enables communities a sneaky peak around buildings not usually open to the public 
  • Attracts around 50,000 people to the event which has a big economic impact 
  • Is all-inclusive and the most popular grassroots heritage event with participation increasing yearly

HEART works hard to celebrate local heritage; to enable community access so future generations can benefit. Heritage makes a real difference to people’s lives and helps shape the sense of place and identity of local communities. It brings economic benefits through regeneration and tourism, and inspires people to learn about the past and their place in society today.

Funding of £10,000 would support two part time staff whose expertise and enthusiasm make the event a reality for local communities. They manage over 200 venue events, recruit new venues, coordinate an army of volunteers and deliver maximum event publicity. 

HEART’s Chief Executive Officer, Carolyn Abel, said: “Last year HEART was the top HODs organiser in the country and we hope this year will be just as successful.  It’s a great opportunity for us all to discover more about our invaluable heritage. But, we need your help to make this happen - your vote for Norwich and Norfolk’s HODs will be critical, so please ask your family, friends and neighbours to take two minutes to vote for HODs 2015!”

Sheriff of Norwich William Armstrong said: “As Sheriff I have come to value and appreciate the enormous contribution – cultural, social and economic – that HEART makes to the life of Norwich. The annual Heritage Open Days, which have become so popular, have a vital role in helping people to discover, enjoy and celebrate our city’s uniquely rich heritage. They are all about making Norwich’s heritage accessible to everyone. I really hope that funding will be made available to enable HEART to continue this hugely successful and worthwhile programme.”

For more information on HEART’s funding campaign and to cast your votes, visit You can keep track of the campaign and share your

Heritage Open Days memories and photos with the hashtag #voteHODs.

More information on HEART and Heritage Open Days can be found at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news.


About Heritage Open Days 

Heritage Open Days was established in 1994 as England’s contribution to European Heritage Days (EHD), The Council of Europe created European Heritage Days to bring people closer to their cultural heritage by throwing open the doors to historic monuments and buildings – preferably those which are usually either closed or are only partly accessible to the general public.

Today, Heritage Open Days is England's biggest heritage festival involving over 1,500 organisations and 40,000 volunteers who organise thousands of site openings and events, jointly attracting over 3 million visitors. It celebrates our fantastic history, architecture and culture; offering people the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences - all of which are FREE to explore.  

Every year on four days in September, the bunting is unfurled and buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors. It is a once-a-year chance to discover the often hidden or forgotten gems on our doorsteps and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring local history and culture to life.


On a national level, the programme is managed by the National Trust and funded by players of the People's Postcode Lottery and Historic England.