Wellbeing and Community Engagement
When people become heritage visitors, their wellbeing is improved noticeably, equivalent to the benefits they’d get from a £1,500 pay rise. Especially after Covid-19 lockdowns, getting back to heritage sites has helped provide an anchor for people’s lives.
When people get involved in purposeful activity – like volunteering, contributing to archaeological digs, or the Missing Pieces Project – the outcomes are even better.
What is the Missing Pieces Project?
The Missing Pieces Project is Historic England’s invitation to the public to share their pictures and stories of the unique, significant and memorable places on the National Heritage List for England.
The National Heritage List is an index of buildings, monuments, battlefields, parks, gardens and shipwrecks. Being ‘listed’ means they are of special historical or architectural interest, and will be preserved and protected for future generations. 99% of people in England live within a mile of a listed building or place.
The stories of these places are still being written. Neighbour, passer-by or visitor, each person’s view of a place is as unique as they are – so every snapshot and story added to the Missing Pieces Project is an important piece of the picture.
The more pieces of the picture we have, the better we can work together to protect what makes these places special.
Running a programme
The Missing Pieces Project can provide easy, fun activities to do with a group. These can be low cost, get people talking about their interests and local history, and connect people with where they live – which can bring people real joy.
This toolkit is about how to create programmes or initiatives that use the Missing Pieces Project as the focus of a group activity, aiming to improve community engagement and wellbeing.
If you are a commissioner of services (social prescribing, health and wellbeing, placemaking, for example) this toolkit shows how Historic England’s Missing Pieces Project can increase wellbeing, engender local pride, play a part in social connectivity and explore personal identity.
For community groups and facilitators looking to run a Missing Pieces Project initiative, this toolkit provides a practical and evidenced guide for each stage.