Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 7 funding: Connected Heritage

Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 7 funding: Connected Heritage

Funding is available for organisations and partnerships that can work with open and collaborative communities of practice to deliver heritage resources.


The Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 7 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 £600,000 of this for Connected Heritage. This will provide the sector with resources to build network capability and make use of technology for collaborative practice.

The Fund is providing funding to organisations or partnerships in England that can act as enablers of collaborative digital practice.

They will seek to increase resilience, promote innovation and attract digital volunteers within communities of practice. These communities of practice will relate to themes proposed by applicants.

Together, they will promote the development of digital skills and collaboration across the sector. We anticipate making a small number of grants with a maximum award of £120,000 for each.

  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 Please note: the requirement listed in the Digital Outputs section of this document is now out of date.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 #Digital7 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

Communities of practice

Organisations or partnerships to act as ‘network connectors’ who will develop communities of practice across England, focusing on the use of technology to facilitate collaborative work. ‘Communities of practice’ in this instance means a collection of organisations, groups and individuals who work together in relation to a specific area or topic.

Grantees will take responsibility for promoting network activities and outputs, working with and supporting other organisations and groups in relation to this.

Pooling digital skills and expertise

This approach will make use of technology to build sector wide development and resilience, while enabling capacity, expertise and resources to be pooled. Networks will also look at how collaborative approaches can support digital volunteer activities and roles.

To do this, we are looking for organisations and partnerships to facilitate activities and provide support in relation to identifiable heritage areas or topics.

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

Practice, participation and activity

Applications should focus on delivering collaborative practices, participation and activities, rather than on building an online community space.

Activities could involve every organisation in the network (for example, co-producing a guide) or they could focus on providing support to other organisations individually (for example, helping several organisations run an edit-a-thon).

Projects need to carefully consider the impact of current and potential future COVID-19 restrictions on the successful delivery of their work.


The area or topic chosen should be a recognisable theme relating to heritage which multiple individuals, groups, and organisations are currently interested in or working on. The proposed theme should be broad enough to include a range of heritage organisations, ie it should not just be the special interest of one or two organisations.

Themes can relate to specific geographical area, period of time, community, culture, type of physical structure, place and/or specialist subject. They may relate to specific areas of the heritage sector or be cross cutting.

The net result of the grant will be to increase public access to and participation in work relating to the theme.


Each project will work with The National Lottery Heritage Fund to agree a delivery plan which will:

Provide resource

Training, support and, where applicable, equipment should be provided to organisations, enabling them to make use of open, collaborative and networked practice to more effectively create, preserve, share or promote heritage.

Involve the public

Where possible, opportunities for members of the public to contribute to heritage development and projects in line with the project theme should be available. These could include, for example, crowdsourcing, edit-a-thons, uploading data, collecting data and co-designing approaches. These should be run in partnership with other projects and organisations.

The grantee should support activity design, management and delivery, and provide technical expertise as appropriate.

Include sharing and learning

Network grantees should share and learn from each other in order to build and expand. Networks are encouraged to ‘work in the open’ and share their project learnings, challenges and progress where possible.

In line with The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s licensing requirement, project outputs (for example, training materials) should be shared under an open licence.

All grantees will also be required to attend a Connected Heritage kick off meeting and continue to meet with other projects over the life of the award. Each project is expected to host at least one online network wide meeting.

Connecting to and developing existing public projects and networks is encouraged, however applicants should note our open licencing requirement for Digital Outputs.


Funding is available for projects for at least one and up to two years to develop collaborative digital practice across their thematic network. However, we are aware that it may not be possible to offer full support straight away, and we are happy to accept applications that include a ramp-up period prior to the start of the network.

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


Success will be measured in terms of the number of people, the inclusion of a wider range of people, organisations participating in activities, and the impact of these activities across and beyond the project.

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 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 #Digital7 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 1k and 2a, put ‘NA’.

Application deadline

The deadline for full applications is noon on 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

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

  • Your track-record and experience of connecting to and supporting individuals, groups and organisations.
  • How strongly your project will achieve the mandatory outcome.
  • The coherence, quality and deliverability of your planned approach.
  • Your ability to make use of technology to support collaborative activities.
  • Your experience in relation to your chosen theme.
  • The appeal of your chosen theme to individuals, groups and organisations working across heritage in England, in particular evidence that others would value and engage with your project.
  • Your ability to help organisations with diverse needs in diverse locations.
  • The overall amount of support you plan to offer.
  • 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. 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 cost.

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.