About Norwich HEART

As well as the Digital Heritage Project, HEART is behind several flagship initiatives and activities across a range of platforms

Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) is a private charitable trust set up in 2004 to co-ordinate and champion heritage in one place (Norwich and the East) and to create a best practice model that can inspire and regenerate other cities across the globe.


Norwich HEART emerged from a perceived need to fill a gap in heritage management in the city since the management of resources was fragmented and without a single vision of where heritage was, and should, be going. There was a growing realisation of what an amazing collection of buildings, artefacts, people and stories there are in Norwich and how, if they were unified under one 'umbrella', they would have greater presence and a far stronger story to tell. This would mean Norwich's assets could meet their full potential in improving the quality of life for local people and visitors, supporting the renaissance of the local economy, maximising the city's cultural attraction and providing a truly sustainable use of resources.


As well as the Digital Heritage Project, HEART is behind several flagship initiatives and activities across a range of platforms including:

Norwich 12 / SHAPING 24

Norwich 12 is an iconic set of outstanding heritage buildings spanning 1,000 years of history, developed as a universally important integrated family of cultural, economic and social attractions for visitors and local people, initially through £1m funding from HM Treasury.

Currently the project is working with 12 heritage sites in the Belgian city of Ghent as part of the cultural tourism initiative SHAPING 24, funded through the EU Interreg IVA 2 Seas Programme.

Local Distinctiveness

HEART has undertaken several regeneration schemes across Norwich which are designed to enhance each area’s distinctiveness and generate economic and social improvements. Work in the Norwich Lanes, Cathedral Quarter and Castle area has included new signage, paving, interpretation such as street name plates, public space development, a guided walking trail and cycling improvements.

An independent report by the new economics foundation found that for an investment of £495,000 in the Norwich Lanes a potential benefit of £16.7m will have been created over a 10-year period.

Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum

We saved the iconic Mustard Shop from closure in 2009 and now run it successfully as one of Norwich's most popular visitor attractions, along with its e-commerce website www.mustardshopnorwich.co.uk.

Heritage Festivals and Events

HEART co-ordinates and stages a range of exciting events such as the massively popular Heritage Open Days in Norwich; the award-winning Norwich Dragon Festivals; photography competitions and exhibitions and Norwich’s Museums at Night programme.

Education and Engagement

We deliver a range of educational and community engagement initiatives such as mock trials and sleepovers in the medieval Guildhall; funding research and books through the Harry Watson Bursary; delivering archive courses and lecture programmes; education packs and tours; internships.


HEART acts as a best practice model for developing heritage as a vehicle for social and economic regeneration. We aim to disseminate our work to wide audiences, sharing experiences and conclusions from our work and supporting other organisations and cities in their heritage regeneration projects.

This strand of our work includes speaker engagements, workshops, heritage-led regeneration strategies, research and report writing. Work has been carried out close to home in places such as Colchester and Thetford and further afield with a workshop for the World Bank in Washington.

Marketing and Promotion

HEART promotes both the organisation’s work and Norwich’s heritage locally, nationally and internationally. It generates over 500 pieces of media coverage annually; runs four websites; issues several popular e-newsletters; sells a range of merchandise including books, films and postcards and has an ever-expanding presence on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Awards and accolades

HEART secured Norwich as the first UK member of the World League of Historic Cities. The Norwich 12 project was selected as a case study in the UK government’s Vision Statement on the Historic Environment in 2010. The organisation has also won three regional publishing awards and a regional tourism marketing award for the first Norwich Dragon Festival campaign.

HEART is regularly invited to speak at events about its work as an example of best practice by international organisations such as the EU, the Heritage Canada Foundation and the National Trust in India.


HEART receives core funding from Norwich City Council and further project funding from a variety of sources which has to date included the European Union, HM Treasury, the East of England Development Agency and Norfolk County Council. In addition HEART generates income from merchandise sales, events and consultancy projects.