Culture, Heritage and Arts Charities in the UK

National Trust

The National Trust is one of the longest-standing not-for-profit organisations in the UK. This heritage and conservation charity was founded in 1884 by English reformer Octavia Hill, who was committed to improving the lives of the inner-city poor through social housing and by making green spaces accessible to the public. The first heritage building acquired by the National Trust was Alfriston Clergy House, which was bought in 1896. From then onwards, the number of properties managed by this charity has kept increasing, and currently includes 40 churches and abbeys, 59 historic villages, hundreds of coastal sites, and 4 UNESCO Heritage Sites.

The National Trust protects monuments, natural spaces, wildlife, buildings, and gardens thanks to the support of its more than 4 million members and 60,000 volunteers. Volunteering opportunities take many forms and include wildlife patrolling, working holidays, gardening, retail, storytelling, and bio-surveying. Find out more details on all the opportunities available by visiting

The Rainforest Foundation UK

The Rainforest Foundation is a London-based charitable organisation that focusses on conservation and human rights. This NGO was established in 1989 by English musician Sting with the objective of raising awareness about the large-scale destruction of rainforests around the world and about the harmful effects that this has for humans, animals, and the planet itself. The Rainforest Foundation campaigns against deforestation, climate change, and calls for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples who live in tropical rainforests. This organisation also carries out research and advocacy projects with the objective of changing inadequate laws and policies.

Those interested in volunteering with this organisation can participate through office and admin roles, project management, fundraising, or taking part in the Rainforest Foundation's diverse events. Some popular events open to volunteers include The Great Rainforest Bake Off, the London Marathon, Dinner4Good, and the OmYogathon. To learn more about the volunteering options offered by this charity, visit

The Royal Horticultural Society

Together with the National Trust, the Royal Horticultural Society is one of the UK's oldest non-governmental organisations, as it was founded in 1804. Horticulture and gardening have always been important activities in British culture, and this charity was precisely founded in order to promote these activities, exchange knowledge, ideas, and discoveries, and to serve as a meeting point for anyone who has an interest in gardening. Today, the work carried out by the Royal Horticultural Society has a strong scientific focus, as this organisation has played a key role in genetics, plant taxonomy, and pest control. The charity also organises gardening competitions, runs flower shops, manages gardens in Yorkshire, Essex, Devon, and Surrey, and organises national and international flower shows.

The Royal Horticultural Society provides training for its more than 1,000 volunteers, who take part in activities like planting, mailing promotional materials, acting as garden tour guides, or looking after one of the society's libraries. More details can be found at the charity's website.

Voluntary Arts

Voluntary Arts is a not-for-profit organisation devoted to highlighting the role of arts in the cultural and social life of British communities. Through its numerous events and programmes, Voluntary Arts aims to promote the active involvement of citizens in activities like literature, dance, theatre, storytelling, music, crafts, drama, and the visual arts, on the understanding that artistic activities are essential for the physical and psychological well-being of individuals. In addition, Voluntary Arts calls for a better understanding of how the arts can contribute to the economic development of society. All in all, this organisation represents more than 11 million people who are involved in amateur arts across the UK and Ireland. This non-governmental organisation is also involved in research, training, and funding.

This organisation relies on volunteers to organise popular events like the annual Voluntary Arts Week, the Up for Arts regional projects, or the Epic Awards. To find out more about volunteering with this charity, go to

The Art Fund

The Art Fund was created in 1903 under the name of The National Art Collections Fund. Since the early days, this charitable organisation has been devoted to acquiring and protecting works of art that have become an integral part of the nation's heritage. The charity's first acquisition was Nocturne: Blue and Gold – Old Battersea Bridge, and over the course of several decades, the Art Fund was instrumental in buying some of the UK's most famous examples of artwork, such as Picasso's Weeping Woman, Michelangelo's Creation of Adam, and several paintings by Renaissance artist Tiziano Vecelli. In total, the Art Fund has helped UK galleries and museums acquire nearly 900,000 outstanding masterpieces.

Fundraising activities are crucial for the Art Fund, so this charity runs more than 60 volunteer committees, which organise lectures, field trips, and fundraising events all over the UK. Occasionally, the Art Fund has volunteer roles available at its head office in London. For more details, visit

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