Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage – Emergency Resource Support

Part of the rescue package announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to safeguard cultural and heritage organisations across England from the economic impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Last updated: 24 August 2021 

Is this programme right for you? 

  • Are you an organisation or business that owns, works with or manages heritage based in England? 
  • Is your organisation at imminent risk of failure due to COVID-19? 
  • Would this be your first Culture Recovery Fund grant? If not, please see Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage: Continuity Support.
  • Do you require a grant between £10,000 and £1million? 

If you answered yes to these questions, then Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage: Emergency Resource Support is for you. 


On 5 July 2020, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced a £1.57billion package to protect the UK’s culture and heritage sectors from the economic impacts of COVID-19. To date, over £1.2 billion has been allocated from the Culture Recovery Fund, reaching over 5000 individual organisations and sites.

At the 2021 Budget, the Chancellor announced an additional £300 million to support the Culture Recovery Fund in 2021/22, to continue to support key cultural organisations; bridge the sector as audiences begin to return; and continue to ensure a vibrant future for the culture sector as the nation recovers from the pandemic.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is distributing £40m of this third round of the Culture Recovery Fund, in partnership with Historic England, based on criteria set by DCMS. This round of funding will have two strands:

  • Strand One: Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage: Emergency Resource Support - for organisations that are in severe need and have not yet received support from the Culture Recovery Fund.
  • Strand Two: Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage: Continuity Support - for organisations that are in need and have already received support from the Culture Recovery Fund.

The £40m will be distributed between the two strands of funding based on the level of demand.

Government will keep the delivery of this funding under active review and consider how best to adapt it in line with the needs of the sector.

This guidance sets out the details of Culture Recovery for Heritage: Emergency Resource Support.

The aim of this strand of the fund is to help maintain England’s cultural ecology by supporting culturally significant organisations, which are now:

  • at imminent risk of failure due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19, and
  • have exhausted all other reasonable options for increasing their resilience.

In line with previous rounds of Culture Recovery funding, the central aims of this strand are to enable cultural organisations to:

  • reopen/restart their operations, where appropriate


  • operate on a sustainable, cost-efficient basis, so that they are able to reopen at a later date if, for example, reopening under social distancing is not permissible or does not represent a value for money approach.

Applicants can apply for grants of between £10,000 and £1million to cover core operating costs up to a point where they can demonstrate a return to financial viability. Funding cannot extend beyond 31 December 2021.

While we do not anticipate that awards will be made above these limits, we will, by exception, consider applications which exceed the upper limit where it can be demonstrated that additional funding is necessary for survival.

The fund is will be open for Expressions of Interest from 7 July. You can apply any time from then until 12pm on 30 September 2021.

Funding will be allocated on a rolling basis at our monthly decision meetings with the budget spread across each meeting in line with anticipated demand.

Government will keep the delivery of this funding under active review and consider how best to adapt it in line with the needs of the sector. 

Who can apply

We are accepting applications from organisations and businesses that own, work with or manage heritage in England who have not been able to access any funding through the previous two rounds of the Culture Recovery Fund.

We will refer to these organisations and businesses as ‘heritage organisations’ throughout the rest of this guidance.

It isn’t possible to list every type of organisation that makes up our broad and varied heritage sector. If you don’t see your organisation in the list below, we still encourage you to submit an Expression of Interest.

As a guide, your organisation could be:

  • Not-for-profit organisations that manage heritage sites, venues or attractions
  • Local authorities, universities and other public sector bodies that manage heritage sites, venues or attractions
  • Private owners of nationally significant heritage sites, venues or attractions that are normally open to the public at least 28 days a year or which host public events. By this we mean that your heritage site should be accessible to the public (for free or paid) and that the focus of the day is sharing the heritage you care for.
  • For profit businesses that are a vital part of the heritage ecosystem and who generate the largest portion of their income from heritage work. This includes conservators, contractors, specialists, suppliers and cooperatives
  • Organisations that manage culturally significant assets or collections      
  • Organisations that provide significant support to the heritage sector
  • Faith organisations that manage listed places of worship
  • Non accredited museums

Applicants must be properly constituted as an organisation. The kinds of organisations that are eligible to apply include:

  • Limited Companies registered at Companies House
  • Community Interest Companies (CICs) registered with the CIC regulator
  • Charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs) registered with the Charity Commission
  • Charitable companies or charitable trusts registered with the Charity Commission
  • Limited liability partnerships registered at Companies House
  • Partnerships established under a partnership deed/ agreement
  • Community benefit and co-operative societies regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • Royal Charter bodies
  • statutory bodies and other public bodies including Universities and museums who run or maintain cultural services
  • Private owners of nationally-significant heritage sites, venues or attractions which are normally open to the public 28 days a year or more or which regularly host events attended by members of the public

Organisations must also be able to demonstrate that they:

  • are culturally significant.
  • are at clear risk of no longer trading viably within 12 weeks of the point of Expression of Interest. By ‘at clear risk of no longer trading viably’ we mean you can demonstrate that, without additional support through Emergency Resource Support, your organisation would not have the ability to generate sufficient income or have sufficient cash reserves (or near-cash reserves where it is appropriate to liquidate them) in order to meet operating payments and debt commitments. This is similar to the definition of cash-flow insolvency. However, given the unique circumstances of many cultural organisations (including the importance of cultural assets in their reserves) we will take a balanced view in the round as to whether your organisation is at risk of no longer trading viably, based on the evidence presented in your application.
  • normally generate at least 50% of your annual income from your heritage activities. For example through exhibitions, admissions, tours, educational activities and associated food and non-food retail; heritage construction, conservation or consultancy services.


If you are an accredited museum or a museum working towards accreditation then you should apply through Arts Council England to Culture Recovery Fund programme. This includes organisations with a museum (accredited or working towards accreditation) as part of a wider heritage site.

All other museums should apply to this fund.

If you applied for the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage Round One or Round Two but were unsuccessful, please follow the instructions above and ensure you apply to the correct fund.

Listed Places of Worship

If you look after a listed place of worship you do not necessarily need to be constituted as outlined above. You cannot apply for funding that would be categorised as promotion of your faith, for capital projects, such as major repairs or for the payment of staff who are not specifically employed to promote and share your heritage.

Local authorities, universities and other public sector

If you are a statutory or public body, you can apply to this programme for the relevant heritage services that you operate. You can only make one application to the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, either one application for a single heritage service or one application for multiple heritage services. You can also apply to the Arts Council England and British Film Institute’s Culture Recovery Fund programmes for other cultural services relevant to their programmes. You may not apply to different funds for the same costs for your heritage asset/service.

Your supporting documents should just be for the heritage service or services you are applying for and not your organisation as a whole.

We expect parent organisations to do everything possible to maintain support for individual services, and where this is not the case, to provide a clear explanation of the change in support and the reasons behind it.

Multiple heritage asset/site owners/managers

If you manage more than one heritage asset/site, please submit one application for your organisation as a whole but the costs can be linked to a single asset/site or multiple assets/sites

We expect parent organisations to do everything possible to maintain support for individual services, and where this is not the case, to provide a clear explanation of the change in support and the reasons behind it. If budgets for next financial year are not known, a clear explanation of the assumptions being made is required.

Culture Recovery Grant for Heritage Round One and Round Two Unsuccessful Applicants

If you applied to either Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage Round One or Round Two and were unsuccessful you are able to apply to this programme if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Ineligible Applicants

Under this programme we are not accepting applications from:

  • Organisations that manage heritage that is not in England. If your organisation is based in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales and you manage heritage in England you can apply for a proportion of your organisation's costs related to the heritage in England. 
  • organisations that were not operating sustainably before March 2020
  • organisations that can apply for support from the Culture Recovery Fund through Arts Council England (accredited museums or museums that are working towards accreditation, combined arts and museums, visual arts, music, literature, theatre, dance) or The British Film Institute (independent cinemas)
  • Organisations that manage or preserve natural habitats and species, as the main focus of their activity
  • organisations that cannot provide evidence to show that they are at risk of not trading viably 12 weeks from the date of their Expression of Interest
  • sole traders and individuals (except private owners of nationally significant heritage sites, venues or attractions that are normally open to the public at least 28 days a year or which host events which the public can attend on at least 28 days a year)
  • DCMS and MOD sponsored museums
  • private members’ clubs constituted as companies and registered at Companies House or as unincorporated associations
  • local authority public library services
  • Culture Recovery Fund Repayable Finance recipients
  • organisations who have already received funding through either or both of the first two rounds of the Culture Recovery Fund administered by ourselves, Arts Council England or The British Film Institute
  • organisations that are not at risk of trading viably 12 weeks from the date of their Expression of Interest
  • organisations that were not properly constituted, and registered with the relevant regulatory body where applicable, on or before 01 May 2019
  • organisations that do not generate at least 50% of their income from heritage and heritage activities

If you feel your organisation is not eligible for this funding but that you own a heritage asset of national significance that is at risk of loss to the nation we advise you look at the funding options available through the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF). Projects applying under the NHMF must be concerned with buying, maintaining or preserving objects, collections, buildings or land that are of particular importance to the national heritage of the UK or the item/s must also be in some way outstanding. This could be because of rarity, quality, association with a historic figure or event or designations.

For a full list of other funding opportunities from both the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England please visit our websites. You can also find the details of other funding options on Historic England’s website or the Heritage Funding Directory.

Aims of this funding

This strand of funding is to cover core operating costs for organisations, up to a point where they can demonstrate a return to financial viability. Funding cannot extend beyond 31 December 2021. It will support organisations who are at imminent risk of failure to ensure they have sufficient funds as we transition out of lockdown, resume business activity and the public starts to engage with England’s diverse heritage once again.

You can bid for a grant to support the costs your organisation faces as it works to become financially viable and transitions towards full reopening. This funding will support your organisation to build up or sustain your operations and begin a programme of heritage activity to help it re-establish itself, with a view to ensuring that by the end of December 2021, your organisation will be operating on a viable and sustainable basis

You will need to consider the most effective route to full reopening and future sustainability for your organisation. This funding is only available for organisations requiring support to return to sustainability, and have a plan to maintain this sustainability through the financial year 2022-23.

Assumptions about social distancing and the public health context for business planning

Applicants should apply using the assumptions as laid out in the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. Applicants should submit plans for the rest of the remainder of the financial year (from point of application up to 31 March 2022) based on the assumption that we will continue operating under the current Step 3 guidelines until 19 July, with Step 4 to take place no earlier than 19 July.

Different organisations will have different lead in times and risk profiles and so should articulate their timelines for transitioning back to full reopening.

The exact timeline for when Step 4 will take place remains uncertain, and so these assumptions and changes to the guidance cannot be guaranteed. As set out in more detail in the government’s roadmap for recovery, winter plan, and vaccine delivery plan, any further steps to continue to open up the economy will be dependent on the four tests as laid out in the roadmap:

  1. the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  2. evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  3. infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  4. the assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern

For Recovery Plans it will also be necessary for organisations to set out their own assumptions on demand, how they assume their audiences and visitors will return and the support required by the organisation to transition back towards a viable models. DCMS is not assuming that consumer demand will immediately return to pre-COVID-19 levels, even when social distancing requirements are removed.

Eligible costs

Through this programme, you can apply to cover costs associated with shortfalls in income and costs to stabilise your business up to 31 December 2021.

Costs that you can request to be covered under this programme are:

Operational expenditure

  • staffing: including existing staff, rehiring, recruiting staff or contract staff and paying for redundancy
  • overheads: to cover utilities, core operating costs or any fixed monthly costs

We would not expect the combined total for these two cost headings to be more than your average turnover (pre-COVID-19) for the period of costs that you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a grant to cover a shortfall over 3 months’ worth of costs we would expect your request to be less than 25% of your annual turnover.

In your application and Business Action Plan and Cash Flow you will need to make the case that this shortfall is the result of reduced income and other available funds, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Templates will be provided.

Debt repayments

Full or partial repayment or clearance of Covid-related debt incurred since 01 April 2020 is eligible through this programme, though this does not include affordable lending.

You will not be able to apply for the full or partial repayment of any government loans such as Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans and Bounce Back Loans.


If you can demonstrate that you will have less than eight weeks reserves at the point of application you can include costs to build your reserves back up to cover a maximum of eight weeks turnover from the end of your grant period (Local Authorities and Universities cannot include these costs).

Business support

Grantees are expected to include some form of business support within their application to enable a review of your governance/management/operational model and/or finances. We would not expect this to be more than 10% of your total grant request.

If your organisation has already undertaken this type of work you do not need to include this expense in your costings but you will need to evidence what work has taken place. If you do not evidence this work and/or include it in your application budget, your application will be withdrawn from assessment.

Guidance on the standards we expect you to meet when procuring this service will be outlined in your Receiving a Grant Guidance if you are awarded a grant.

Future income generation

In addition to your ongoing costs, we acknowledge that there may be additional “one-off” costs associated with restarting your business and to help you to become financially sustainable and increase your ability to generate income. These “one-off” costs should be up to a maximum of 20% of the operational expenditure (staffing and overheads) you apply for. These can’t be for new projects but should allow you to adapt any existing activities and core business. Costs can include:

  • purchasing or installing essential COVID-19 related equipment
  • stabilising heritage that is at immediate risk (for example, scaffolding or urgent minor conservation work that does not require consent or permission)
  • adaptations to help you operate and comply with social distancing requirements (for example, personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and volunteers, screens and contactless payment methods, shelters for queues or additional toilets)
  • essential IT equipment and connectivity costs to support homeworking
  • activities to enable your organisation to put information online and to interact with your community/customers if your site is closed, for example, digital expertise, equipment or customer relationship management systems

Ineligible costs

  • covering costs/losses eligible to be supported through other sources (for example other COVID-19 support schemes, such as the Job Retention Scheme)
  • the optional salary costs not covered by the Government’s Job Retention Scheme for hours not worked by staff on furlough, or any additional optional salary costs for hours not worked above the furloughing cap
  • any operational costs incurred before the date of your application and operating costs beyond 31 December 2021
  • clearing significant historic debt incurred before 1 April 2020
  • anything that contravenes Government’s advice on COVID-19
  • new projects or activity that is not essential to your continued operations or that is unrelated to the reopening of businesses in a COVID-safe manner
  • costs already covered through other emergency support funding.
  • full or partial repayment of Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans or Bounce Back Loans
  • full or partial repayment of historic structured loans
  • full or partial repayment of tax bills and fines
  • costs that are supported by an insurance pay-out (eg: if planned activity does not take place)
  • capital works, such as major repair projects
  • paid for lobbying, which means using grant funds to fund lobbying (via an external firm or in-house staff) in order to undertake activities intended to influence or attempt to influence Parliament, Government or political activity or attempting to influence legislative or regulatory action
  • using grant funds to directly enable one part of government to challenge another on topics unrelated to the agreed purpose of the grant
  • using grant funding to petition for additional funding
  • expenses such as for entertaining, specifically aimed at exerting undue influence to change government policy
  • input VAT reclaimable by the grant recipient from HMRC
  • payments for activities of a party political or exclusively religious nature
  • any costs in excess of £1million
  • costs related to promotion of faith

Costs period

The costs you can apply for should cover the period from your point of application to 31 December 2021.

Partnership funding

There is no partnership funding requirement for this programme.

How to apply

Expression of Interest

Before you are able to make a full application to the Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage you will be required to submit a short Expression of Interest (EOI) form. We are using an EOI stage to ensure that the funding is targeted to organisations that really need it and that organisations do not spend time applying to a fund that might not be suitable for them.

In this form you will need to outline how you meet the eligibility criteria for this funding. Please read the Expression of Interest questions and prepare your answers in advance. You must complete your EOI in one go, you cannot save and return to it.

We will use the information you provide to decide whether to invite you to submit a full application. An invitation to apply does not guarantee a grant from us under this programme but does indicate that your organisation meets the minimum eligibility criteria (as outlined in the ‘eligible organisations’ section) to apply for this funding.

We aim to respond to your EOI within 5 working days of receipt. If your organisation is invited to submit a full application, we will contact you to inform you of the next steps.

If your organisation is not invited to submit a full application we will explain our reason. If you are not invited to submit a full application after your EOI, you can review the reasons and if your situation changes, you may submit another EOI.

We recognise that an organisations situation may change during the time that this fund is open.

Submitting your Expression of Interest

You can submit an EOI at any time from 7 July until 12pm on 30 September 2021.


If your organisation is invited to submit a full application, we will send you an email advising you on the next steps.

We may not be able to offer detailed feedback on your Expression of Interest so we advise that you read the application questions which will be provided by email and prepare your answers in advance. You must complete your application in one go, you cannot save your application or return to it, so we recommend you draft your answers before starting an application. When preparing your answers in advance, please ensure you keep within the 3,000-word limit for the application form.

Alongside your application form you will need to submit mandatory supporting documents. You must use the templates which can be downloaded from our supporting documents page

Please note: your application is not complete until you submit the mandatory supporting documents on the templates provided. The deadline for supporting documents is within two working days of you submitting your application. We cannot start to assess your application until your supporting documents are received.

Supporting Documents

You will need to provide:

  • Financial accounts: we will want to see your accounts for financial years 2018/19 and 2019/20. You should submit accounts that have been independently audited or certified, though we understand this may not always be possible in the timeframe available.
  • Your current management accounts: by management accounts we mean a log of your income and expenditure for 2020/21 from the start of the financial year up to the date of application.
  • Balance sheet: this should show your organisation’s current financial status at point of application.
  • Costs: a completed cost template outlining the costs that you are applying for.
  • Business action plan and cashflow template: this should be completed using the Excel action plan template which will be emailed to you. This plan must include the steps you will take to make your organisation financially viable up to March 2023 and should be based on the public health assumptions laid out earlier in this guidance. Within this we expect you to clearly lay out how you would spend your grant up to December 2021 and your plans for future sustainability up to March 2023.
  • Government loans and grants checklist: you should complete the template we will email to you and let us know whether or not you have been able to access any other government loans, how much money you have been given and the time period this covers.
  • Governing document (for example, constitution): Your governing document should include the following:
    • the name and aims of your organisation
    • the date when it was adopted and the signature of your chairperson (or other authorised person)

We are unable to accept your application if your constitution does not include the above. We do not need to see your governing document if you are a public organisation (for example, a local authority) or a private owner of a heritage asset.

If your organisation has already completed a review of how it operates (governance/financial/business plan etc) and you are therefore not including these costs in your application you should also attach:

  • Evidence of business support work: this should be the final report with recommendations that your review made and evidence that the business has/will action these recommendations.

If you are a Local Authority, University or other public body

Your supporting documents should just be for the heritage service or services you are applying for and not for your organisation as a whole.

Submitting your Application

If your organisation is invited to submit a full application your assessor will share the link to our application portal. This link will allow you to submit your full application.

Submitting your Supporting Documents

You will receive an email after you submit your application with instructions to upload your mandatory supporting documents.

Please do not change the subject title of the email as it may delay your application. It contains a unique identification reference, which consists of numbers and letters. We use this to match your supporting documents to the right application. If you have not received it after 24 hours then contact

You must send us your supporting documents promptly after receiving this email and use the templates we will provide that we have provided for your costs and business action plan.

Please only submit the supporting documents set out above as we will not be able to assess additional documents. Allowable formats for supporting documents are jpg, xls, xlsx, jpeg, pdf, doc, docx, pptx, and ppt.

When sending us your mandatory supporting documents, please use the document names above so we can easily identify each document. Failure to use the correct document names may delay your application.

You must submit your supporting documents within two working days of submitting your formal application through our portal. If we do not receive your supporting documents within this deadline your application will not be assessed and will be withdrawn.

Support with your application

We have designed the application process to be as straightforward as possible and we are requesting only the information we need. Please read this guidance before you start your application.

If your organisation is invited to submit a full application we may provide you with some feedback when we respond to your EOI to ensure you provide us with enough information to assess your application. Feedback will be dependent on levels of demand. If we receive more EOIs than anticipated we will not be able to offer this.

For technical support or assistance with accessibility, please contact our customer service team by email:

For specific queries about the programme, please contact

Decision Dates

We will be holding monthly decision meetings and will attach your application to the next closest meeting. The first will be in August and the final will be in December 2021.

We aim to inform you of our decision within six weeks from the point of application.

Whilst we aim to work as quickly as possible through the process, we cannot guarantee a timeframe by which we will reach a decision as we may need more information or time to explore each proposal depending on the complexity or scale of the request.

Preview application form and supporting documents

You can download the templates from our supporting documents page, which includes the following:

  • a Business Action Plan
  • a cashflow
  • a government support template
  • a cost breakdown
  • a preview application form
  • Opening Up Access Milestone Plan template
  • Opening Up Access plan guidance

How we will review Expressions of Interest

Once you have submitted your EOI we will check that your organisation is eligible against the criteria outlined in this guidance. If your organisation is not eligible to this programme you will not be invited to submit a full application.

If your application is eligible, we will be in touch to provide you with further details on how to submit your full application.

Eligibility Criteria

You should only apply for this funding if you are able to meet all of the eligibility criteria:

  • your organisation is an eligible type of organisation
  • your organisation is part of the heritage sector and generates a significant portion of its income from the heritage it owns, manages or works with
  • your organisation is at risk of not trading viably within 12 weeks

How we will assess applications

When assessing your application, we will consider whether your organisation meets the essential criteria for the programme. If you do not meet the essential criteria, we will not assess your application further.

We will also consider if your plans and risk level are proportionate to the amount of funding you are applying for and the size and scale of your organisation.

Essential Criteria

You should only apply for this funding if you are able to meet all of the essential criteria:

  • you must have been financially viable before COVID-19 (March 2020)
  • your organisation generates at least 50% of its annual income from your heritage or heritage activities
  • you can demonstrate that you have exhausted all other reasonable financing options and need a grant to cover your anticipated shortfall
  • your business action plan demonstrates that you have a plan towards future financial viability that minimises your anticipated shortfall and presents value for money.

If your application meets the criteria outlined above, you will also need to demonstrate that your organisation achieves at least one of the criteria below:

  • high heritage significance


  • high economic and cultural impact in your place

Heritage significance

Priority will be given to applicants that are regionally, nationally or internationally significant. To assess this, we will consider whether applicants:

  • are recognised as nationally or internationally excellent within their sector
  • care for designated heritage
  • deliver a service that is nationally or internationally important, irreplaceable, or scarce in their place or region.
  • have a national remit or responsibility that impacts on the wider heritage landscape, and their failure would risk the future of their sub-sector. For example, they may have a convening role, provide significant support for their wider sector or play a significant role in nurturing growth, diversity and creativity in the sector
  • lead or deliver strategically important national and/or international activities or partnerships

Economic and cultural impact in your place

Priority will be given to applicants that play an important role in levelling-up for their place. We will consider the relationship between the applicant, the heritage, and the local area, including:

  • how many cultural organisations there are in the area, and what impact the loss of the organisation or heritage would have on cultural engagement locally
  • what opportunities local people have to engage with culture and heritage, particularly those in underserved audiences, including young people
  • how the organisation fits into the local community, and whether it plays a vital role in tourism, supply chains, developing creative skills, or bringing other cultural and community organisations together
  • whether the heritage is unique or has particular resonance with the local community. This might include whether heritage is formally designated, is in a conservation area, or is featured in a local heritage list. You should tell us about any support you have from local decision makers . For example, you may wish to set out local support of your role such as from a council or councillors, Local Enterprise Partnership or Member of Parliament  

Application balancing criteria

Before each meeting we will assess demand against the overall budget. Should demand be too high to fund all eligible applications, our decision makers will have the option to use the following criteria to balance the investment:

  • Geographic spread: we want to support organisations across England. We will also consider whether your organisation is based in an area of low cultural engagement, provision, or of economic disadvantage.
  • Types of organisation: We want to support a mix of heritage organisations across a range of sizes and scales.
  • Range of heritage: we want to support a range of organisations across the heritage ecosystem including built heritage and monuments, places of worship, designed landscapes, archaeology, industrial, maritime and transport heritage, museums, libraries and archives.
  • Opening up access and participation in culture: we want to support organisations who are committed to opening up access by developing diversity within their audiences, participants, workforce, and governance, and for those organisations which are important to their local places and audiences and which promote understanding of diverse communities across the country.

We will use this to ensure a good spread of funded projects and to differentiate between fundable applications. To inform geographic spread balancing discussions we will also consider whether your organisation is based in an area of low cultural engagement, as per the Active Lives Survey.

Decision Makers

Decisions will be made by trustees of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, taking into account recommendations from staff and Trustees at The Heritage Fund and Historic England.

If you have applied for more than £1m we may share your application with the Culture Recovery Board (or a subset of the board) appointed by DCMS and ask them for comment before a final decision is taken.

Where applications are judged to be complex these may also be shared with the Culture Recovery Board.

Conditions of funding

If you are awarded a grant, we will require you to sign up to the terms of this grant, and meet specific requirements from DCMS, including:

  • where contracts allow, and organisations are legally able to do so, pay freeze for all senior staff (those earning £100,000 per annum or more) for at least 18 months, plus 10% pay reductions to pre-COVID pay for those above a £150k threshold, including cancelling bonuses.
  • the organisation will demonstrate a commitment to open up access and increase the diversity of its audiences, visitors and/or participants, as well as its organisational diversity.
  • demonstrate a commitment to Government targets on achieving Net Zero by 2050 and to climate disclosures
  • demonstrate a commitment to increase educational outreach
  • ensure you take reasonable steps to protect the heritage assets you are responsible for, in particular their physical estates
  • participate in the proportionate monitoring and evaluation of this programme
  • the organisation will comply with legislation relating to Subsidy Control
  • keep a full audit trail of all expenditure related to the grant award and all receipts and documents may be requested at any time for checking
  • Where costs included in your application are also covered by insurance and a claim is successfully made, or a pay-out for an existing claim is received, your CRF grant may be affected or reduced. In such a situation you will need to notify us.

In considering any future application you make to The National Lottery Heritage Fund or Historic England, we will take into consideration whether these conditions have been implemented.

If your application scores ‘not met’ against ‘opening up access’ we will ask for you to produce an opening up access milestone plan as a condition of your final payment.

If we award you a grant

If we award you a grant, we will send you a letter, which outlines the conditions of the grant and includes the amount you have been awarded.

You will need to complete and sign a permission to start form to confirm that you are accepting the grant and signing up to the terms of the grant. When you have completed this process, we will make your first grant payment.

Reduced award offer

When assessing your application, we will make a judgement on whether there is sufficient evidence provided to support the level of funding requested. We may offer a reduced amount of funding. We will deduct any ineligible expenditure from your grant request, and may make other reductions based on the level of demand for funding. Within your grant notification letter, we will explain the reasons for reducing any grant offered.


Where a grant is for activity that is also covered by insurance, and the activity does not take place, resulting in an insurance payout to cover the costs, your Culture Recovery Fund grant may be affected. In such a situation your final payment will be reduced unless you can show that the grant was spent on other eligible costs in line with the original purposes of the grant.

How we will pay the grant

The funding can only be paid into a UK based bank account.

You will receive 50% of your grant upfront. You can claim a further 40% when you provide your first progress report, showing proof of expenditure of the first 50%. You can claim the final 10% at the end of your project.

When you submit your request for each payment we may review your organisation's financial viability. If your organisation is in a stronger position than you had predicted in your original application, we may decide to reduce your total grant in line with your financial need.

More details on how to claim your grant will be provided to you in our receiving a grant guidance.

Publicising your award

All successful applicants may be asked to publicise their grant in a proportionate manner. We will provide more information on how to do this in your grant award letter.

Reporting on your progress and evaluation

All grantees will be required to participate in monitoring and evaluation of this programme. Over the next few months we will monitor the health of your organisation.

DCMS will be evaluating the impact of the whole fund and will require you to take part in some data collection to support this work. We will provide more information about this requirement as soon as it is available.

Opening up access

If you receive funding and your application scored Not Met against “Opening up access to heritage”, we will ask for you to provide an Opening up access Milestone Plan as a condition of your grant. See our supporting document page for an Opening Up Access template plan and guidance document.

Making a complaint

We understand that you may be disappointed with the outcome of either your EOI or application. We can only review our decision again if you make a complaint about how we have dealt with your Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage application. We have a two stage complaint process for this fund.

We will only be able to consider and investigate the complaint if:

  • we did not follow the published procedures for assessing your application
  • you can show that we have misunderstood a significant part of your application
  • you can show that we did not take notice of relevant information

A complaint must be made in writing by emailing within 10 working days of receiving your feedback from your EOI or your application decision. We aim to acknowledge your complaint within three working days.

Your complaint will initially be reviewed by an area/country director from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, who is independent of recommendation and decision panels for this fund.

We aim to communicate a decision within 15 working days from when you submitted your complaint.

For assistance, contact our Customer Services Team on 020 7591 6044 or email

Subsidy Control

At the point of publication of this Guidance for Applicants, public funding for organisations is no longer governed by the European Commission’s ‘State aid’ rules as set out in Article 107-109 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union and associated regulations and guidelines. Instead all grant decisions made after 11pm on the 31st December 2020 are subject to the new UK subsidy control regime, the principles of which are set out in Chapter 3 (Subsidies) of Title XI (Level Playing Field) of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Read further guidance from the Government website.

A consultation has been conducted and there will possibly be new legislation in this area to build upon the principles. You will be expected to comply with the principles of the subsidy control regime and to satisfy any future requirements. Agreements that have been entered into will be reviewed and varied accordingly. We reserve the right to impose further requirements and additional conditions in relation to this matter. 

It is an applicant’s responsibility to check whether State aid or subsidy control clearance is required. Applicants should seek independent legal advice if they are unsure whether a project will require clearance.

Changes to this guidance 

We have developed this funding programme very quickly in order to respond to the immediate needs of the heritage sector. We will continue to review our processes to ensure we are able to provide support where it is needed. We reserve the right to make any changes needed to the guidance and programme. We will communicate any changes as quickly as possible via this webpage.

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