Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 5 funding: Answering The Sector's Digital Questions

Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 5 funding: Answering The Sector's Digital Questions

Funding is available to organisations or partnerships that can answer small to medium-sized heritage organisation’s most pressing and frequently asked digital questions.


The Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 5 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 £550,000 of this amount in this call to answer small to medium-sized heritage organisation’s most pressing and frequently asked digital questions.

The questions will be divided into six themes that cover different areas of digital development and a key consideration across all themes is that small and medium heritage organisations right across the UK benefit.

Applicants should have a knowledge of the heritage sector’s needs and a track record of providing digital support.

The total available funding is £550,000 across all grants.

We anticipate making grants of around £50,000 for the co-ordinator role (Theme 1). Grants of around £100,000 will be made available for each of the five subsequent themes.

An organisation or partnership can work on up to three themes per application, but can only apply for a maximum grant of £250,000.

  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 Please note: the requirement listed in the Digital Outputs section of this document is now out of date.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 #Digital5 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:

  • a not-for-profit organisation
  • a partnership led by a not-for-profit organisation

We are looking for organisations and partnerships with the ability to research and answer the heritage sectors most pressing and frequently asked questions surrounding digital skills.

Applicants should have a knowledge of the heritage sector’s needs and a track record of providing digital support.

Questions will be answered in the form of online resources. We are looking for applicants who can provide accessible, clear solutions and walkthroughs.

Not all questions have definitive answers, so we expect successful applicants to be able to go through various solutions step by step where necessary. A clear route to relevant information should be provided.

The applicants should factor in key considerations including relevant ethical and legal issues.

Answers should be presented in the format or formats (text, audio, video) that are most effective, with accessibility requirements addressed. They should be available to questioners on demand. The format taken will be designed by the successful applicants to most effectively provide an answer.

The questions will be divided into themes. Applicants should select a theme relevant to their expertise. Each applicant can apply for a maximum of three themes.

The themes are:

Theme 1 – Resource Co-ordinator

The purpose of Theme 1 is to co-ordinate and organise appropriate indexing, organisation and hosting for the Digital Skills for Heritage Q&A materials.

The successful applicant will be responsible for raising awareness of the materials and targeting small-medium heritage organisations that need assistance. Applicants should explain how they will successfully promote the Digital Skills for Heritage Q&A free-to-use resources to heritage organisations.

The Resource Co-ordinator is also expected to provide a final check for accessibility, accuracy, user journey and our licencing requirements.

Theme 2 – Finding, creating and sharing digital content

The purpose of this theme is to answer questions relating to areas such as how digital content is created, used and stored.

Questions may relate to standards and interoperability, accessibility, archiving, discoverability, working with openly licenced resources and data, and digital storytelling.

Theme 3 – Online and mobile community development

This theme is likely to address questions relating to online collaboration, helping primarily offline communities move online, embed diversity and inclusion and develop digital volunteering.

Theme 4 – Digital engagement and activities

This theme is likely to address questions relating to running online only or blended events and activities online, online facilitation, communications and marketing, running online consultations, evaluating impact, working with audiences and audience data and handling online transactions.

Theme 5 – Digital leadership and organisational development

This theme will address questions relating to digital leadership, strategy and development. It will include, for example, how best to support boards, developing a digital strategy, staff development and implementing new ways of working that make use of digital.

Theme 6 – Business models and recovery planning

This theme is likely to provide answers to questions that relate to areas including financial and operational issues, the development of new business models and digital services, the role of digital in recovery planning and how to commission, deliver and evaluate new digital services.

We are not specifying in advance how these researched questions should be answered. Questions could be answered in a variety of formats and will be displayed in one online free to access resource.

We expect that resources produced will contain a mixture of simple and complex answers. Some examples of types of resources to include are:

  • Infographics
  • Checklists
  • Blog posts
  • Online courses
  • How to videos

This flexibility is to encourage applicants to follow the digital needs of the heritage sector by answering questions in an appropriate and creative fashion.

Criteria for resources

Applicants should bear in mind The Fund’s standard requirement to keep resources up to date for a period of five years after the Project Completion Date. Answers should not be time sensitive, or if they are, projects will need to demonstrate how these will be maintained.

If third-party resources are included in the response (for example, if external resources are linked to), bidders will need to demonstrate that these are secure for the period of the agreement or explain how they will be updated.

Bidders should ensure that any third-party resource referred to are available on the same basis as the Digital Skills for Heritage Answering the Sector's Digital Questions; that is, free and unfettered access with no sign up or registration required.

Resources will need to be produced in Welsh and English and all resources will need to be fully accessible. This should be evidenced in project plans and budgets.

The following are important factors that applicants need to be aware of.


Applicants should explain how they will successfully market their free-to-use, openly licenced resources to heritage organisations across the UK.


We expect all applicants to describe what research plans they will undertake in order to identify the relevant questions within their theme.

We would also like applicants to highlight the types of resources they might produce, although we are aware that this will depend upon the research they have conducted.

We do not require or expect an exact schedule, but we do require a summary of expected types and amounts of resources and some indication of how Welsh translation and accessibility have been factored into the planning.


We strongly support and encourage applications containing partnerships between two or more organisations.

An organisation or partnership can work on up to a maximum of three themes per application but can only apply for a maximum grant of £250,000.


The maximum project length will be 18 months to include achieving permission to start, research, ramp up, delivery of the resources and evaluation.


We expect that applicants will take steps to measure engagement with the resources that they produce. We will have detailed conversations with successful applicants to ensure that measurement of progress is, to some extent, standardised for comparability across projects.

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

The full list of valid programme outcomes can be found here. 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 #Digital5 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 then indicate which theme you will be applying for.
  • 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 creating content to help individuals and organisations to grow their digital skills, especially from a low base.
  • 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.
  • 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 thematic 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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If you query is regarding our application portal, please contact our support team.