Application guidance: Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, second round

Part of the rescue package announced by DCMS to safeguard cultural and heritage organisations across England from the economic impact of COVID-19.

This guidance was last updated on 22 January 2021.

Important update: Guidance on using Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage round one underspend has changed. This decision will have an impact on all organisations who received a grant under the Culture Recovery Fund round one. Find out what your options are

The second round of the Culture Recovery Fund looks forward to next spring and early summer when it is expected that cultural organisations will be able to operate with fewer restrictions.

Over £300million of grants will be available, covering the period April-June, to support cultural organisations with the costs they will face as they welcome back visitors.

Grants for heritage

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is distributing £36m of this government funding to organisations in England, in partnership with Historic England, based on criteria set by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

This second round will offer grants of between £10,000 and £3m to support organisations to make the transition towards full reopening.

The fund opened for applications on 7 January 2021. You can apply until 2pm on 26 January 2021.

Repayable Finance 

The other element of Culture Recovery Fund support available was Repayable Finance, which had a budget of up to £100m. Applications for this have now closed. See the guidelines below for more information. 

We have developed this funding programme quickly in order to respond to the immediate needs of the heritage sector.

We are not offering one to one (or specific) pre-application advice, so please make sure you read the guidance carefully and check that you are eligible to apply.

Two support webinars for applicants took place on 13 and 14 January. Watch a recording.

Who can apply?

We are accepting applications from organisations and businesses that own, work with or manage heritage in England. We will refer to these organisations and businesses as ‘heritage organisations’ through 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 make an application.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Museums

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 to the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage but were unsuccessful, please follow the instructions above and ensure you apply to the correct fund.

If you are a current Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage grantee then you should apply to this fund for your second round, regardless of your accreditation status.

If you apply to the incorrect fund, we will not be able to assess and support your application.

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 can apply for funding towards the costs necessary to transition towards full reopening of your listed building to the general public and engage the wider community with your heritage. You cannot apply for funding to undertake work that would be categorised as promotion of your faith or capital projects, such as major repairs.

Local authorities, universities and other public sector bodies

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 cultural services relevant to their programmes.

The maximum amount of funding you can apply for across all of the Culture Recovery Funds is £3m. We cannot fund broader local authority costs. You will need to provide the required financial information for the individual services and meet eligibility criteria, as well as the criteria for the programme in respect of each individual service for which you are applying. 

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. If budgets for next financial year are not known, a clear explanation of the assumptions being made is required.

Multiple heritage site owners/managers

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

Culture Recovery Grant for Heritage round one unsuccessful applicants

If you applied to the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and were unsuccessful, you can apply to this programme.

Culture Recovery Grant for Heritage round one grantees

If you were awarded a grant during the first round of applications, you can make an application to round two, if you are an eligible applicant. We would expect your second round application to be for an amount of no more than 50% of your existing grant.

  • If you are a charity or other not-for-profit organisation – the total of both your round one grant and your round two application should not exceed £3m.

  • If you are a commercial organisation – the total of both your round one grant and your round two application should not exceed £1m.

  • If you require amounts above these thresholds then you should consider an application to Arts Council England for the Culture Recovery Repayable Finance (see in the guidelines below).

If your combined grant is over £1m, you need to provide the additional supporting information required for over £1m grants. This is outlined in the 'How to apply' section of this guidance.

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 or The British Film Institute. This includes accredited museums or museums that are working towards accreditation and cinemas.

  • Not-for profit organisations that need more than £3m. If you have already received a grant through the Culture Recovery Fund this £3m grant limit includes your first grant award. If this applies to you, you may be eligible to apply for repayable finance administered and managed by Arts Council England.  

  • Commercial organisations that need more than £1m. If you have already received a grant through the Culture Recovery Fund this £1m grant limit includes your first grant award. If this applies to you, you may be eligible to apply for repayable finance administered and managed by Arts Council England.  

  • Organisations that manage or preserve natural habitats and species as the main focus of their activity.

  • 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 public events).

  • 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.

Aims of this funding

This second round of funding looks forward to next spring and early summer when we expect that heritage organisations (as defined above) will be able to operate with fewer restrictions. It will support organisations to transition from the challenging months of lockdowns and social distancing to resume business activity and welcome visitors back to the country’s diverse heritage sites.

You can bid for grants to support the costs you face as you transition towards full reopening. This funding will support you to build up your operations and begin a programme of heritage activity in April-June 2021. The funding aims to ensure that by the end of June 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 those organisations who need support to return to sustainability, and who have a credible and cost efficient Business Action Plan to do so.

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

The assumptions published alongside the guidance on the 14th December should be used by organisations making applications and remain unchanged. This guidance has been issued to ensure applicants can make consistent assumptions.  Applicants should apply on the basis of a gradual increased capacity over April - June (accounting for social distancing measures still being in place)  culminating in full reopening without constraints by July.

Advances in vaccines and treatment for COVID-19 should ultimately remove the need for economic and social restrictions, such as the need for lockdowns and capacity constraints due to social distancing.

It is therefore assumed that during the first quarter of 2021/2022 capacity restraints within heritage sites will be relaxed. Other mitigations such as requiring face coverings, managing the flow of visitors etc may still be in place even once capacity is no longer constrained. It is also assumed that consumer demand will not immediately return to pre COVID-19 levels, even when social distancing requirements are relaxed.

The exact timeline for when social distancing can be removed 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 state of the epidemic at the time, good progress across these scientific advances and the trajectory of cases being stable or remaining in decline. It may therefore be that full capacity in cultural venues is possible earlier within the April-June period

Business Action Plan

As part of your application, you will need to produce a Business Action Plan for April 2021 to March 2022, using our template, based on some planning assumptions on the public health context and restrictions for England.

Your Business Action Plan should set out your costed recovery plan to transition towards full reopening post-April. Different organisations will have different lead in times and risk profiles and so should articulate the timelines for transitioning back to full reopening post-April, with a shared planning assumption that, by the end of the April-June period, capacity will no longer be constrained.

It should set out your assumptions on levels of demand, on how your business or visitors will return and on the support your organisation will need to transition back towards operating on a viable and sustainable basis.

What costs can you include?

Eligible costs

Through this programme, you can apply to cover costs associated with shortfalls in income during the period April-June 2021, whilst you are working towards restarting normal operations or business. This includes hiring staff and freelancers as you would normally, therefore supporting the wider ecosystem of the heritage sector.

In your application and Business Action Plan you will need to make the case that this shortfall is the result of reduced trading and reduced earned income. We would not expect this shortfall to be more than 25% of your usual annual turnover as this funding covers one quarter, April-June 2021.

This shortfall may be costs you incur as part of your operations and business, including: 

  • staffing 

  • overheads

  • marketing

  • heritage activities

  • maintenance of buildings and land, equipment and services

In addition to your ongoing costs, we acknowledge that there may be additional “one-off” costs associated with restarting your business. Costs can include: 

  • rehiring or recruiting staff 
  • contracting freelancers 
  • purchasing or installing essential COVID-19 related equipment, and stabilising heritage that is at immediate risk, for example, scaffolding or urgent minor conservation work (up to a maximum of 20% of the amount applied for) 
  • repaying or clearing COVID-19 related debt incurred since 1 October 2020  
Reserves

If you can demonstrate that you will have less than eight weeks reserves at the end of June you can include costs to build your reserves back up to cover a maximum of eight weeks turnover from 1 July 2021. Businesses, private owners, local authorities, universities and other public bodies cannot include these costs.

Ineligible costs

  • Costs that are covered by existing government grant funding, for example other COVID-19 support schemes, such as the Job Retention Scheme.

  • Any costs incurred before 31 March 2021 and operating costs beyond 30 June 2021.

  • Anything that contravenes Governments’ advice on COVID-19.

  • New projects unrelated to the reopening of businesses in a COVID-safe manner.

  • Costs already covered through other emergency support funding, for example through our Heritage Emergency Fund or Historic England’s COVID-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Response Fund and round one of the Cultural Recovery Fund.

  • 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 £3m across the two funding rounds.

  • Clearing significant historic debt incurred before 1 October 2020.

Costs period

  • The costs you can apply for should cover the period from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.

Partnership funding

  • There is no partnership funding requirement for this programme

How to apply

Before you apply

We are not offering detailed pre-application advice for this programme so make sure you read the guidance and check that you are eligible to apply.

Read the application questions and prepare your answers in advance. You must complete your application in one go, you cannot save your application or return to it. We recommend you draft your answers before starting an application. Make sure you keep within the 3,000-word limit for the application form.

Have your mandatory supporting documents ready to submit. You must use the templates provided. Please note: your application is not complete until you submit the mandatory supporting documents on the templates provided. The deadline for applications is 2pm on 26 January, any applications that have not submitted the correct supporting document by 2pm on 28 January will automatically be withdrawn.

Supporting documents

If you are applying for under £1m, you will need to provide:

Financial Accounts

We will want to see your accounts for financial years 18/19 and 19/20 and your working management accounts. You should submit accounts that have been independently audited or certified, though we understand this may not always be possible in the timeframe available. By management accounts we mean a log of your income and expenditure for 20/21 from the start of the financial year up to 6 January..

Costs

A completed cost template.

Business Action Plan

This should be completed using the action plan template. This plan must include the steps you will take to make your organisation financially viable in the future.

If you are a new applicant applying for £1m or more, you will also need to provide:

Financial Accounts

We will want to see your accounts for financial years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 and your working management accounts for 2020/21 showing your projected income and outgoings until the end of June. These must be certified by your treasurer or finance director.

Business Plan

An up-to-date business plan.

If you are an existing Culture Recovery Fund grantee

If your combined grant (round one grant plus round two grant request) is over £1m, you will need to provide the additional supporting information required for over £1m grants as set out above.

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

Use the application form. You can apply from 7 January 2021 until 2pm on 26 January 2021.

Submitting your supporting documents

You will receive an email after you submit your application with instructions to upload your mandatory supporting documents. If you have not received it after 24 hours please contact CultureRecoveryFund@heritagefund.org.uk. 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.

You must send us your supporting documents promptly after receiving this email and use the templates 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.

The application deadline is 2pm on 26 January 2021 and your supporting documents must be with us by 2pm on 28 January 2021. If we do not receive your supporting documents by this date your application will not be assessed and will be withdrawn.

Setting up your payment account

If you have not received a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage before, we will ask you to register for an online payment account on the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s usual application portal. We are asking you to do this to speed up the process to make sure we can get any future grant payments to you as quickly as possible if you are awarded. We will contact all of our applicants with the details of how to do this. This is an administrative step only.

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.

We will be running web based events to provide some support to applicants. We publish details on our websites (Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund) in due course.

For technical support or assistance with accessibility, please contact our customer service team by email: enquire@heritagefund.org.uk

For specific queries about the programme, please contact CultureRecoveryFund@heritagefund.org.uk.

Please note that we will not be available to answer queries from 24 December 2020 to 3 January 2021 inclusive.

Decision dates

All decisions will be finalised and communicated to applicants by the end of March 2021.

Application form and support documents

Find the online application form, Business Action Plan Template, Cost Breakdown Template and draft application form here. The page also contains an application form video walkthrough. 

How will we assess applications?

When assessing your application, we will consider whether you meet 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.

Eligibility

Once you have submitted your application we will check that your organisation and application is eligible against the criteria above and that your application is complete. If your organisation or application is not eligible or incomplete, we will not be able to assess your application and we will let you know this.

If your application is eligible, we will use the information provided in your application and supporting documents to assess your application against the essential, priority and balancing criteria outlined below.

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).

  • 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 you have received a grant through the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage round one, you will need to show that you have used that funding appropriately.

Should you meet the eligibility criteria and essential criteria and can demonstrate that you are at serious risk of not trading viably before the end March 2021, please get in touch with us directly via the CultureRecoveryFund@heritagefund.org.uk, before 26 January.

Priority criteria

If your application meets the criteria outlined above, we will prioritise applications that demonstrate either:

  • high heritage significance or

  • 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 take the following into account, 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, looking at things like:

  • 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.

Balancing criteria

Organisations that do not meet the heritage importance or economic and cultural impact priority criteria outlined above will not be funded.

Our decision makers will use the following criteria to balance the investment and differentiate between fundable applications:

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. 

Decision makers

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

Applications for £1m or more will be reviewed by the Culture Recovery Board, which is an independent board appointed by DCMS.

Conditions of funding

If you are awarded a grant, we will require you to sign up to the terms of this grant, which include specific requirements from DCMS.

  • 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 £150,000 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 State Aid.

  • Keep a full audit trail of all expenditure related to the grant award. All receipts and documents may be requested at any time for checking.

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 you to produce an Opening up Access Milestone Plan as a condition of your first 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.

How we will pay the grant

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

For grants of £100,000 or less, you will receive 90% of your grant upfront. You can claim the final 10% at the end of your project.

For grants over £100,000 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.

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 will 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.

State Aid

At the point of publication of this guidance for applicants, public funding for organisations carrying out commercial activities, including those with charitable status, is 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.

Following 11pm on the 31st December 2020, it is expected that there will be a new UK subsidy control regime. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy is likely to issue guidance on this.

You will be expected to comply with the terms of that regime and to satisfy any further information requests, and any 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.

Support webinars

Two support webinars for applicants took place on 13 and 14 January. Watch a webinar recording

Repayable finance

Update: Applications for repayable finance closed on 7 January 2021.

This programme will ensure we retain both significant organisations that are the bedrock of the global reputation of England’s cultural sector, and also organisations across the country that enable people to have access to great creative and cultural opportunities, no matter what their background or where they live. 

The budget for Culture Recovery Fund 2: Repayable Finance is up to £100m. Repayable Finance allocations have a lower limit of £1m and no upper limit. Both not-for-profit and commercial organisations will be able to apply for this finance, which is expected to be in high demand. 

In this round, organisations are able to apply for either grants or repayable finance, unless they have already received a Repayable Finance award. You cannot submit an application to both Culture Recovery Fund Repayable Finance and Grants. If multiple applications are submitted, they will be deemed ineligible.

All new applicants seeking over £3m in this round are only eligible for Repayable Finance.  

All previous Culture Recovery Fund recipients who are seeking a cumulative total of over £3m can only apply for Repayable Finance. 

All for profit organisations who are seeking a cumulative total of over £1m can only apply for Repayable Finance. 

Organisations that have already received a Repayable Finance award are not eligible for either grants or further Repayable Finance awards.  

Successful applicants would be awarded a fixed term loan with fixed repayment and interest repayable as early as feasible and prudent, and in any event not longer than a 20 year maturity. The loan would have an initial interest and capital repayment holiday of up to 4 years, available to not-for-profit and for-profit organisations, during which time interest will accrue on a six-monthly basis.   

The criteria for the Repayable Finance programme have been set by DCMS and the loans will be administered, monitored and collections made by Arts Council England, acting as agent on behalf of DCMS. Decisions on Repayable Finance awards will be made by the Culture Recovery Board, appointed by DCMS. 

The guidance for Repayable Finance was published on Tuesday 15  December. The programme is open for applications from Tuesday 15 December, and you can apply any time between from then until 7 January. 

For more information about the Repayable Finance programme, please refer to the guidance on the Arts Council’s website.

Making a complaint

We understand that you may be disappointed with a decision. We can only review our decision again if you can make a complaint about how we have dealt with your Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage application.

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 enquire@heritagefund.org.uk within 10 working days of receiving 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 enquire@heritagefund.org.uk.

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.