Common Ground

Young heritage leaders in the East of England

Norfolk & Norwich Festival is delighted to have received National Lottery support for the development of their Common Ground project. Made possible by National Lottery players, the project will focus on youth leadership within the heritage sector, enabling young people to become leaders, and developing new and exciting ways for themselves and their peers to engage with their local heritage.

About Common Ground

Common Ground is a young people’s leadership and heritage engagement project in the East of England. With investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund for development, we have an opportunity to deliver new heritage experiences with, by and for young people, increasing community engagement by delivering high quality heritage interpretation locally. The project is designed to support young people aged 11-25 years old and heritage specialists to lead, building capacity to innovate and connect, working in places where individuals face barriers to heritage engagement.

Led by a strategic partnership, the Common Ground Consortium is a cross-sector collective covering the East of England with a clear vision for action and impact. The consortium partners are:

  • National Trust
  • Norfolk & Norwich Festival (lead organisation)
  • Norfolk Wildlife Trust
  • Suffolk Wildlife Trust
  • SHARE Museums East
  • The Prince’s Trust
  • The Wildlife Trusts for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire

Aims, objectives and outcomes

We want HLF investment to make a real difference to the lives of young people, their families and communities in the East of England, and to heritage engagement. The objectives of the project are to:

  • Empower young people to co-create heritage experiences with heritage organisations and communities
  • Sustain young people’s engagement and participation through inspiring activities, training and volunteering
  • Support the heritage sector to broaden, deepen and diversify audiences

The following impact areas have emerged through research and consultation. Our aims are for the Common Ground Project to contribute to the following outcome areas:

  • Inspiring heritage interpretation
  • Empowering people
  • Communities and wellbeing
  • Partnerships and collaborative practice


We want Common Ground to contribute to improving young people’s confidence, developing their skills and experience through heritage engagement, participation, training, volunteering and placements. And we want to improve how heritage is interpreted and shared, contributing to individual’s understanding about heritage, sense of belonging and their wellbeing. So we’ll be delivering behind the scenes tours, heritage training, heritage hack labs (so that young people have a voice in the early design stages of new heritage engagement activities), and promoting volunteering and placement opportunities.

As a knowledge exchange partnership, we also want to know as much as we can about how and why Common Ground works, for continuous improvement, to inform future practice and make the project sustainable; we will collaborate with others, connect through networks and align resources so that young people have access to more opportunities, creating their own heritage inspired journeys.

The individuals planned to take part in the project are:

  • Heritage hackers (16-25 years old)
  • Common Ground participants (11-25 years old)
  • Heritage participants (0-25+ years old)
  • Heritage workforce

If you’re interested in the project and would like to find out more please contact Project Manager Karen Birch at


Flag Fen Heritage Hack

Tuesday 11 December 10am-3pm

In partnership with Vivacity, we are are running a free one-day creative workshop for ages 16-25 exploring the natural heritage of Flag Fen Archaeology Park in Peterborough.

Work with artists Juneau Projects to help redesign and influence new interpretations of Flag Fen, making it more engaging and attractive to young people.

The workshop is free to attend and travel and lunch will be provided.

Find out more about Flag Fen here.

Click here to register a place

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Images © Beth Moseley Photography