Our most frequently asked questions - and the answers

Every week the HLF enquiry line receives more than 100 phone calls, and across the regions and nations, more than 100 project enquiry forms are submitted each week.

Inevitably, these enquiries raise and address many of the same sorts of questions over and over.

So I sent out a call to HLF staff to share with us the question their team gets asked most frequently; and of course, to reveal what the answer is.

I hope you will find the below FAQ&A useful, and please feel free to ask us anything we haven't already covered.

Submitted by sally.page@hlf… (not verified) on Mon, 11/30/2015 - 10:58


To get us started, here is a question that is often asked by organisations that are thinking about applying.

We are a voluntary organisation; can we include organisation running costs within our application to HLF?

For voluntary organisations, we can accept part of an organisation’s overheads (sometimes called ‘core costs’) as a part of the costs of the project. We expect our contribution to be calculated using Full Cost Recovery. We cannot accept applications for Full Cost Recovery from public sector organisations, such as government-funded museums, local authorities or universities. You will need to tell us on what basis you have allocated a share of the costs to the project you are asking us to fund, and we will assess whether this is fair and reasonable. The application guidance for the programme you are applying under tells you more about this and how to calculate Full Cost Recovery.

Submitted by rebecca.jenkin… (not verified) on Mon, 11/30/2015 - 12:59


Here's a question we get daily from organisations which are thinking of, or are in the middle of, applying to us.

When can we apply to you and when will we find out the decision?

Here’s where you can find all the information you need on our website.

You can apply for all grants under any programme that are up to £100,000 at any time, with a decision in 8 weeks. Your local team can tell you when this will be: http://www.hlf.org.uk/about-us/contact-us

If you applying for a Heritage Grant between £100,000 and £2m you can find the deadlines for each region, by scrolling down on this page:


If you are applying for a Heritage Grant over £2m you can find the deadlines under ‘when you need to apply’ here:


If you are applying under any other programme you can find the deadlines under ‘when you need to apply’ on each programme page here:


Please let us know if there is anything you cannot find, or anything further you would like to know, and otherwise get applying!

Submitted by emma.mastin@hl… (not verified) on Tue, 12/01/2015 - 10:23


One question we often get asked on the general enquiries line is:

What rates do you use to calculate volunteer time?

You should use the following rates to work out the financial value of the time volunteers contribute to a project:

  • Professional labour - £350 a day (for example – accountancy or teaching)
  • Skilled labour - £150 a day (for example – administrative work, carpentry or leading a guided walk)
  • Unskilled labour - £50 a day (for example – clearing a site or working as a steward at an event)

More information on in-kind contributions and the use of volunteer time in projects can be found in each of our application guidance documents for our grant programmes.

Submitted by joseph.minden@… (not verified) on Thu, 12/10/2015 - 12:33


A really important point for smaller organisations can be

What are the not-for-profit clauses HLF needs to see in our constitution?

There are two we need to see.

1) The first relates to the stated objects of your organisations and stipulates that your income will only be applied towards those objects;

2) The second necessary clause is a statement of what will happen to your organisation’s assets if your organisation ceases to exist. There should normally be a statement that your assets will be given to another charitable or not-for-profit organisation having similar aims and objects (and not to your organisation's members!). This is often known as a dissolution clause.

As long as these are in your constitution, you can apply to HLF!


Submitted by Sally Roberts (not verified) on Fri, 12/11/2015 - 11:04


Another one we see regularly is:

We plan to ask for the HLF grant to cover the costs of producing a book.  We’d like to sell the book so that we can raise some funds.  Is this okay?

Yes, if the book will record the research done as part of the project you are asking us to fund. If the main focus of your project is to produce a record of research that has already been done, or that is going to be done by a small group of experts, then it is unlikely that your project will achieve HLF’s outcomes (see The difference we want your project to make).

In order to achieve HLF’s outcomes, you will also need to show that your project includes activities which engage people with the heritage, in addition to creating a resource. This could involve recruiting people as research volunteers, putting on learning workshops, engaging people with collections in archives or museums, involving people in the process of creating the book/film/TV programme/education pack, or putting on activities which will help people engage with it once it is created.

It is acceptable to charge a modest price for a booklet or another type of printed resource that your project produces, as long as the money is reinvested in heritage. You should give free copies to a relevant public library. If you are creating digital resources e.g. a web site or smartphone app, these must be made available to the public free of charge. See HLF’s guidance on using digital technology in heritage projects.

Submitted by robynl@hlf.org.uk (not verified) on Wed, 12/16/2015 - 07:58


What are some of the obvious problems you see in an applicaton?  I admit that I have made up this question to make the following, hopefully, helpful point

We see projects with good ideas for activities and outreach, but the costings don't reflect the ambitions.  Please make sure that the two match up.  If costs will be covered by in-kind contributions or volunteers, please let us know.  Otherwise, it's hard to see the evidence that the ideas can be realised.   You may find that HLF can fund more items than you think.  This 'top tip' applies to all levels of projects.

Submitted by emma.mastin@hl… (not verified) on Wed, 12/16/2015 - 11:55


Another one from me - but mainly because I have answered this question a lot over the past few days:

Can we apply for a new project if we already have an existing one?

The answer is yes you can. However, you will need to assure us that your organisation has the capacity and resources to manage more than one project at the same time and that your new project would not be detrimental to your existing grant.

Submitted by AdamH (not verified) on Wed, 12/16/2015 - 15:42


For projects based in or which will take place in Wales:

Do I need to include the Welsh language in my project?

As a public body in Wales, we are contributing to the Welsh Government’s policy of creating a bilingual Wales which is set out in their strategy 'Iaith Byw'.

As a result we expect our applicants and grantees to make appropriate use of the Welsh language when undertaking projects in Wales. We strongly encourage you to adopt a bi-lingual approach when planning your heritage project in order to ensure that your project meets the linguistic needs of your target audience as well as the wider public, so that as many people as possible can benefit from our funding.

When assessing applications in Wales, we will look at what activities and outputs are planned to be held and produced through the project. You should consider recruiting Welsh speaking volunteers to run activities bilingually and can include costs for translating information leaflets, exhibitions, interpretation boards, websites etc.

Further information can be found in the Incorporating the Welsh language into your heritage project guidance and we recommend you contact the Wales Development Team to discuss your project before submitting an application.

Submitted by robynl@hlf.org.uk (not verified) on Wed, 12/16/2015 - 17:25


Where do I get advice on applying to HLF and is there a cost?

Every local office has a Development Team and they are there to provide you with advice on applying to any of the HLF grant programmes. Their advice is FREE.  It's not mandatory to take advice, but I'd strongly suggest everyone to use this service at an early stage of your planning.  You can find project enquiry forms on line where you can describe what you want to do and list any questions.  Or, you can phone the offices direct.  Don't be shy, the answer is more often 'yes' than 'no' (and we'll be straight with you if it is 'no').