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7th Medi 2018

Actress Sally Phillips names Devon’s Heritage Ability project as a winner in the National Lottery Awards.

Bridget Jones star Sally Phillips today surprised Devon-based rural accessibility project, Heritage Ability, with the news that they have won Best Heritage Project in the National Lottery Awards 2018.

Sally broke the news of the National Lottery Awards win to a group of local people, who have benefitted from increased accessibility thanks to the Heritage Ability project, when a plane flying overhead had the exciting announcement emblazoned on a banner!

The National Lottery Awards are the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects and celebrate the inspirational people and projects who do extraordinary things with National Lottery funding.

Sally, whose son has Down’s syndrome and is an advocate for disabled rights, followed the announcement with meeting people who have been able to visit previously inaccessible parts of the South West countryside thanks to the National Lottery funded Heritage Ability project.

Sally said: “It’s thanks to National Lottery players, who raise £30 million each week for good causes that amazing projects, like Heritage Ability, are possible and I’m honoured to announce them as winner of the UK’s Best Heritage Project in the National Lottery Awards 2018.

“Heritage destinations should be inclusive for everyone but that’s not always the case, so it was wonderful to hear today about Heritage Ability’s brilliant work opening up access to so many of the South West’s most-loved attractions.

“It’s a shining example of the life-changing impact National Lottery funding can have and the possibilities that exist to make our heritage more accessible and inclusive for everyone to enjoy.”

Heritage Ability is a project run by a small charity, Living Options Devon. With the unwavering support of 320 volunteers and funding from the National Lottery, Heritage Ability is helping 20 heritage destinations in the South West become more accessible over a three year period.

Responding to the news that Heritage Ability has won Best Heritage Project in the National Lottery Awards 2018, Maryann Soper, Project Manager for Heritage Ability, says:

“Thank you to everyone who voted for us, we are overjoyed to win Best Heritage Project in the National Lottery Awards for the work we are doing to make the South West’s wonderful heritage accessible for all.

“Change cannot be achieved overnight but we hope these places will become role models to show what can be done and the value of a community-led approach.”

Heritage Ability beat off competition from 700 entries to win £5,000 cash prize and an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and will have its work celebrated on a special BBC One programme to be broadcast on the 26 September.

National Lottery players raise £30 million a week for arts, sport, heritage and community good causes. For more information go to or follow the campaign on Twitter: hashtag #NLAwards.


For further information please contact The National Lottery Awards:

Nicola Bligh on 07914157667 or email


Bridget Jones star, Sally Phillips, crowns the Heritage Ability the National Lottery’s Best Heritage Project. Sally met with people who have benefitted from the Heritage Ability project to share the good news.

Notes to Editors

National Lottery players raise £30 million every week for arts, sport, heritage and community good causes

Heritage Ability received £527,093 of National Lottery-funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund

To find out more about the National Lottery Awards head to

All voting was independently adjudicated and verified by Electoral Reform Services