Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 2 funding: Taking Digital Forward

Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 2 funding: Taking Digital Forward

Funding is available to organisations or partnerships that can offer digital skills development focused on innovation, enterprise and business planning to small heritage organisations.


The Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 2 funding is now closed to new applications. Explore our available funding.


The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has provided us with £1million funding to enhance the support we can offer through our Digital Skills for Heritage initiative.

This funding is part of the wider £92m Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage. It comes on top of an initial £1.5m National Lottery funding, bringing total funding for Digital Skills for Heritage to £2.5m.

We are using £250,000 of this for the Taking Digital Forward tranche. Grants are open to organisations or consortia in England that can provide training and support for digital innovation, enterprise and business planning.

This will complement our two existing Digital Skills for Heritage training projects: Digital Heritage Lab and Heritage Digital.

Our ambition is to grow the number of smaller heritage organisations in the UK that have the skills required to make use of digital technologies.

We anticipate making only a small number of grants and will consider single applications for the whole £250,000.

The key consideration will be that small heritage organisations across the UK directly benefit.

  1. Read the guidance provided below carefully.
  2. Follow our open programme £10,000 to £250,000 application guidance when applying for this grant. Please note: the requirement listed in the Digital Outputs section of this document is now out of date. To review our current Digital Outputs requirement, refer to the Standard terms of grant webpage.
  3. Put the hashtag #Digital2 at the start of your project title.
  4. Submit a full application via our online application portal by noon on 15 January 2021.

The deadline for Project Enquiry Form submission has now passed. Please note we are unable to provide feedback on applications that did not submit a Project Enquiry Form.

You can apply if you are:

  • an organisation based in England
  • a not-for-profit organisation
  • a partnership led by a not-for-profit organisation

Supporting heritage organisations

We are looking for organisations and partnerships with the right skills to help smaller heritage organisations grow their own digital skills and confidence. We’re also looking for evidence that applicants have helped people and organisations to become more digitally confident.

We are looking for applications that clearly explain how you will provide this support. Our ambition is to grow the number of smaller heritage organisations in the UK that have the skills required to make use of digital technologies.

Free, open and accessible

Successful applicants must use the funding provided to give support that is available free of charge to heritage organisations. We support organisations that work openly and require all the resources we fund to be openly licensed.

All resources should be fully accessible.

Emerging from lockdown

We are asking bids to focus on providing support to organisations as they emerge from the lockdown period. They will be beginning to rebuild and rethink their organisations and practice in line with a changed and increasingly digital future.

Flexibility in delivery

We are not specifying in advance how applicants should offer their digital skills development support to heritage organisations. There is no requirement for a particular type or number of classes, via a helpline, face-to-face mentoring or any particular method or channel.

We hope that this flexibility will encourage applicants to bring their own experience and ideas to the table about how smaller, less digitally confident heritage organisations can best receive support in growing their own digital skills.

Digital Business Support

For this grant we are asking the successful applicant to focus on digital as a strategic enabler. They should support heritage organisations in revaluating their practices in relation to digital and designing new approaches.

This project will provide the tools that organisations need to make effective use of digital within strategic and operational planning. The successful applicant will support organisations in developing new practices. They will provide skills training and resources relevant to the whole heritage sector.

This will include:

  • Aligning digital activity with a strategic approach, mission and values.
  • Designing, delivering and evaluating new digital services.
  • Using new planning tools and approaches, for example design canvases.
  • Developing user centred services.
  • Working with openly licenced assets, including commercially.
  • Embedding digital into business planning and financial management.
  • Staff and organisational development.
  • Understanding when and how to procure digital services.


We expect that applications will reflect the fact that meeting face-to-face may not be possible and that you will suggest different approaches to teaching and learning depending on location and the practicalities of travel.

We expect the successful applicant to provide a range of support, including resources, activities and events online and, where permitting, face to face. We also expect the successful applicant to offer opportunities to heritage organisations across the United Kingdom.


The National Lottery Heritage Fund will, from time to time, refer heritage organisations to the successful applicants. These organisations will often have very low digital skills and confidence and will be looking for assistance to grow their digital skills.

Nationwide we expect this number of referrals to total at least 60 over a period of 6-12 months. Successful applicants must be able to respond to these referrals and to assist the organisations. This support does not have to be delivered through 1:1 mentoring. We will accept applications that will take referred organisations and make them part of wider groups or skills development initiatives.


As well as offering digital skills development to organisations referred by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, applicants should explain how they will successfully market their free-to-use support to heritage organisations.


We expect all applicants to describe what kind of support they will deliver, how often and for what duration. We do not require or expect an exact schedule, but we do require a summary of types and amounts of activity.


We require that applicants supply skills development support over a period of 12 months. However, we are aware that it may not be possible to offer full support straight away. We are happy to accept applications that include a ramp-up period prior to the start of the 12 months, where only a lower or limited level of support will be on offer.

The maximum project length for these projects will be two years to include achieving permission to start, ramp up, delivery of the 12 months training and evaluation.


We expect that applicants will take steps to measure the skills progress of organisations that they help, but we do not expect a detailed description of this in applications.

We will have detailed conversations with successful applicants to ensure that measurement of progress is, to some extent, standardised for comparability across projects. We will expect this to be set out at an early stage of the project.

Data skills

All applicants should deliver at least some education or training on the use of data within heritage organisations as part of their package of skills development. This should not, however, dominate the skills development offered.

We expect applicants to suggest which additional skills mix they plan to offer. There are no other mandatory requirements.

Plan your financial contribution

Applicants that apply to us for between £100,000 and £250,000 need to contribute at least 5% of their project costs. We describe this contribution as ‘partnership funding’. It doesn’t all have to be in the form of cash. See our application guidance for more details.

Meeting our outcomes

See our full list of programme outcomes. Applications that do not state they will meet the mandatory outcome cannot be considered for funding. There is no obligation to name more than one outcome, and we encourage you not to claim more outcomes than you really think you can deliver.

The deadline for Project Enquiry Form submission has now passed. Please note we are unable to provide feedback on applications that did not submit a Project Enquiry Form.

In order to apply, visit our application portal and register an account. From the pull-down menu select £10,000-£250,000. Then choose 'Start full application'. Please note there is no specific ‘Digital Skills for Heritage’ application form.

Application form steps

  • Insert the hashtag #Digital2 at the start of your project title to help us correctly identify your application.
  • In question 1f, you do not have to give evidence of need or demand, as The National Lottery Heritage Fund has identified this independently.
  • You do not need to answer questions 1i, 1k, 2a or questions 2c – 2g, put ‘NA’ or 'No' as required. 
  • For question 2b select 'other' and put digital.
  • In questions 3a and 3b emphasise past experience of working with digital heritage.

Supporting documents

It is required that you supplement your application with supporting documents. These include your governing document, accounts and a project plan. We do not require other supporting documents.

Application deadline

The deadline for full applications is noon on the 15 January 2021.

Have your mandatory supporting documents ready. Please note your application is not complete without these:

  • governing document, eg constitution
  • your most recent financial accounts
  • project plan

When we assess your full application, we will consider the following:

  • Your track-record and experience of helping individuals and organisations to grow their digital skills, especially from a low base and specifically in relation to digital business planning.
  • How strongly your project will achieve the mandatory outcome.
  • The coherence, quality and deliverability of your plans.
  • Your ability to help organisations with diverse needs in diverse locations.
  • The overall amount of support you plan to offer.
  • Your willingness to work in collaboration with other organisations.
  • Overall value for money.

Applications will be considered by an internal panel convened especially for this awarding process.

If your bid is successful, we reserve the right to offer you a different amount than you have asked for to ensure UK-wide coverage from a range of bidders. We would discuss this in principle with you in advance of the decision-making panel.

  • The deadline for submitting a Project Enquiry Form is noon 13 November 2020.
  • Feedback on the Project Enquiry Form will be provided by 30 November 2020.
  • The deadline for full applications is noon on 15 January 2021.
  • Decisions will be made on 4 March and applicants will be notified as soon as possible after this date.

£10,000 to £250,000 application guidance
Information and advice for how to write a strong proposal. You should follow this when submitting your application, except where the instructions above specifically tell you to do something different.

Application help notes
Useful information to help with completing an online application.

Project Enquiry Form example
A good way of getting feedback from us before you start work on a full application.

Project plan templates
Templates for our recommended way to create your project plan.

Standard terms of grant £10,000-£100,000
Our terms and conditions for grants of this size.

Standard terms of grant £100,000-£250,000
Our terms and conditions for grants of this size.

Good practice guidance
To help you plan and deliver your heritage project.

Full cost recovery
If you are an organisation in the voluntary sector, we could help cover some of your overhead costs

The Heritage Fund is distributing Digital Skills for Heritage, on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). 


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