Who we are and what we do – 2019 update


Burgh Castle Almanac on the foreshore at Rotherhithe with the Thames Discovery Programme June 2019

The Restoration Trust was set up 5 years ago  and became a registered charity a year later (2015).  We are dedicated to connecting heritage, health and people with serious mental health problems. Our achievements in five years show that there is a need for our work offering exceptional access to real heritage and real expertise.



We use culture therapy to help people with serious mental health problems engage with heritage so that their mental health improves. Our vision is that culture therapy will be a normal part of heritage, culture and mental health good practice by 2027



  • Sustained engagement with participants, including after projects end
  • Exceptional projects, access, learning, creativity.
  • Research into outcomes for people



  • Human Henge. Ancient landscapes and mental health. Currently building on experience at Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site to extend the programme to other sites in the South West of England.
  • Burgh Castle Almanac. Historic landscapes and mental health at Burgh Castle Roman Fort with Norfolk Archaeological Trust. Part of Water Mills and Marshes, a major landscape project led by the Broads Authority
  • Change Minds. Archives and mental health at Norfolk Record Office and els. Developing partnerships with Scottish Council on Archives and archives in Scotland and North West of England.
  • Culture Quest. Music Appreciation Groups in Norfolk and Suffolk.
  • Conservation for Wellbeing. Conservation and mental health at London Metropolitan Archives.



Most participants had a positive improvement in their health attributable to our programmes, including over the longer term, although numbers are too small to be statistically significant.

In baseline data, only 12% of Human Henge participants felt close to people often or all of the time, rising to 47% at the end. One person said: “I like the walking and talking and learning all at the same time and being a human being rather than an illness or a condition or a client or an end user… I’ve actually been a human being for three months.”

Since taking part in our projects people have volunteered with our partners, taken families and friends to heritage places, visited museums, taken courses, researched family history, written blogs and talked publicly about their heritage and creative passion. They have made films, taken photographs, created artworks and recorded oral histories.



A cross-sectoral organisation, we are rooted in heritage, culture and mental health. Our Chair was the CEO of Icon, the Institute of Conservation. Our Director was a heritage professional who moved on to work in mental health. Trustees have lived experience of mental illness as well as expertise in mental health, social care, PR, publishing and heritage.



In 2018/19 we collaborated with 20 partner organisations and delivered 65 sessions for 123 participants.

Partners and collaborators include:

  • Heritage and culture; English Heritage, National Trust, Wiltshire Libraries, Norfolk Record Office, Norfolk Museums Service, Norfolk Libraries, Icon, London Metropolitan Archives, Norfolk Archaeological Trust, Norwich Arts Centre, Broads Authority, Thames Discovery Programme
  • Mental health; Richmond Fellowship, Together, Julian Support, Homegroup, Access Community Trust, SMART
  • Research; Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Avon and Wiltshire NHS Partnership Trust, University of East Anglia, University of Bournemouth

Case studies of our projects have been published by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the National Archives, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, the Royal Society of Arts.

Funders include: National Lottery Heritage Fund, Big Lottery, West Suffolk Community Chest, Norwich Charitable Trusts, Geoffrey Watling Charity, Wiltshire County Council, Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Arts Fund, Geoffrey Watling Charity



Costs for one person to attend a project are around £120 per 3-hour session, £40 per hour (including on-costs). This compares to one 9 minute visit to a GP at £37, one NHS psychological therapy session at £95 per hour, one day on a mental health ward at £410.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s