Heritage Emergency Fund grants of £50,000 to £250,000


The Heritage Emergency Fund is now closed to new applications. Read more about our funding programmes



The Heritage Emergency Fund accepts applications for two grant levels, £3,000 to £50,000 or £50,000 to £250,000, to cover emergency and/or recovery costs during this difficult time.

This guidance is for grants from £50,000 to £250,000 for heritage assets at immediate risk. We have been working closely with partners and stakeholders and have decided to extend the duration of this funding so we can continue to provide support. The application form will now be available until 12 noon, 31 July 2020.

You can find the guidance for £3,000 to £50,000 here.

We will prioritise funding against the criteria list below.

The application process is outlined below. If you need support or advice before you apply, please contact your local team.

Guidance on preparing your application, provided by one of our experienced consultants, is available as a short video.

Who can apply

As a National Lottery distributor, we are prioritising urgent funding to safeguard heritage sites and assets we have previously invested in, to ensure they are not lost to the public.

To apply for grants of £50,000 to £250,000 from the Heritage Emergency Fund, you must be:

  • a not-for-profit organisation
  • a current or previous recipient of a grant directly from us for a project relating to a heritage asset at risk
  • an owner or manager of a heritage asset that is at risk due to the financial needs of your organisation over the next 4 months

You must meet all three criteria above to apply for funding through the Heritage Emergency Fund, £50,000 to £250,000. If you do not meet these criteria, you may be eligible for other support as we develop our longer-term strategic support or other initiatives.

There may be cases where the heritage asset has been transferred to a new organisation since receiving funding. You can still apply if the asset has received funding from us in the past.

We are not accepting applications from:

  • statutory organisations, for example, local authorities, even if you have previously received funding from us
  • private owners of heritage, even if you have previously received funding from us
  • organisations that have previously only received funding from us for project grants of £10,000 and under
  • organisations that have a direct funding relationship with and sponsorship by departments of Government. These organisations should approach their sponsor bodies for any additional support rather than applying to Heritage Emergency Fund.
  • organisations that have already accepted emergency funding from another National Lottery distributor, unless you can make a clear case that each grant is needed to cover distinct activity relevant to each distributor. As part of our focus on maximising the impact of National Lottery Good Causes investment in communities, organisations that have been funded by different National Lottery funders should, in the first instance, choose the most relevant fund and apply only to them.
  • past grantees that have been awarded a grant for a specific one-off acquisition of portable heritage, for example, a painting
  • organisations that have applied to the Heritage Emergency Fund £3,000 to £50,000 grant level and have not been successful
  • organisations that have already been awarded a grant through the Heritage Emergency Fund

How will we prioritise applications?

We are expecting a high demand for this funding, and will prioritise organisations that:

  • have limited or no alternative access to other sources of support, for example, from Governments, other National Lottery distributors, other emergency funding from trusts and foundations
  • have already tried other options to stop being at risk. For example, putting projects on hold, rephasing milestones, repurposing other funding to support day-to-day operations, minimising costs but maximising the function of existing projects, also known as value engineering
  • are in greater financial risk from COVID-19 due to a reliance on trading or community fundraising income streams
  • are in greater financial risk due to limited reserves

In addition for this higher level of the Emergency Fund, we will also give priority to organisations that

  • are focused on a heritage asset that is at risk as a result of COVID-19
  • are making an outstanding contribution to places and communities
  • because of their strategic role in the heritage sector, it is likely that they will have received significant past investment from the National Lottery Heritage Fund
  • can demonstrate a good track record working towards our mandatory inclusion outcome, a wider range of people will be involved in heritage
  • can demonstrate they are managing heritage attractions that are significant to the heritage visitor economy. Particularly those in areas of deprivation that meet our economic regeneration outcome, the local economy will be boosted.
  • can demonstrate a good track record working towards our wellbeing outcome, people will have greater wellbeing

We will also prioritise where:

  • an organisation is working within one or more of the 13 Areas of Focus we identified in our Strategic Funding Framework
  • there is willingness and potential to play a leadership role in the recovery and reconfiguring of the heritage sector longer term
  • there is evidence of exploring and successfully developing new income streams to support sustainability and organisational reconfiguration longer term

In assessing applications, we will consider the scale and scope of the wider impacts and benefits your organisation provides, in line with our outcomes around economic regeneration, inclusion and wellbeing. We will also consider the material difference our support is likely to make in the context of the organisation and the heritage you manage, its size and relative to the scale of the risk faced by you and the heritage you look after. We are working with Governments and other funders to consider what other support might be available where our funding will not be enough to address the challenges faced.

Due to high demand for this type of funding, organisations will be a lower priority for support if they:

  • are better placed to access emergency funding from other sources
  • have significant and ongoing resilience issues pre-dating the COVID-19 emergency. If this applies to your organisation, we recommend you discuss these issues with your local team, as we may be able to provide advice and support through our longer-term strategic initiatives.

What will we fund?

The Heritage Emergency Fund is short-term funding to support the immediate actions needed to stabilise operations, manage unforeseen risks and costs to help your organisation recover.

You can apply to us for a grant between £50,000 and £250,000 to cover essential costs for up to four months. You may also apply for activity that will help your organisation begin to recover and follow guidance from government. This could include increasing your digital activities during this period, testing and consulting on new activities that will help your organisation's recovery and reviewing and revising your strategic and operating plans.

Partnership funding is not required.

We want to support organisations to actively deal with immediate risks, to help you become more stable and to work towards longer term recovery.

As a guide you could apply to us for costs to:

  • stabilise your organisation in the immediate term to make sure the vital heritage you care for is not put at further risk by COVID19, for example, staff costs to allow you to respond, design and deliver plans
  • stabilise a heritage asset that is at immediate risk, for example urgent conservation work to protect your heritage
  • help you plan and initiate mothballing, when you put aside or withdraw from use your heritage asset/s, and other approaches to protecting heritage that is at risk
  • run immediate risk management reviews and test the actions identified as needed to safeguard your organisation
  • reconfigure business plans, governance and activity needed to help safeguard the future of your organisation. This could include trialling new ways of working to improve the stability of your organisation. We will expect you to consider the future environmental sustainability of your organisation and project as part of your future planning work
  • help you manage your site during social distancing. This could include additional staff to help manage queues, PPE for staff and volunteers, training, additional cleaning, implementing contactless payment methods, and temporary structures to help manage visitors, like shelter for queues or additional toilets
  • get advice from professionals, for example on risk, safety, how to support your staff or on new business models
  • cover essential operational costs, for example, site security, maintaining climatic conditions for collections, or managing livestock on habitats
  • cover essential IT equipment and connectivity costs to support homeworking and activities to enable your organisation to put information online and to interact with your community/customers

What won't we fund?

  • costs that are eligible to be covered by Government support, for example, furloughing
  • the remaining salary costs for staff on furlough not covered by the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, or any additional salary costs above the furloughing cap
  • redundancy costs of staff not funded by a current National Lottery Heritage Fund project
  • costs that are avoidable in the short term. We will let you know if we think this is the case and remove these from your grant request
  • operating costs you will incur beyond four months from the point of your application, we may consider some recovery costs that are slightly longer term if that makes sense for your organisation (for example, business plan reviews may need more time to understand the impact of COVID-19)
  • anything that contravenes Governments’ advice on COVID-19
  • recoverable VAT
  • costs related to promoting the cause or beliefs of political or faith organisations

How to apply to the Heritage Emergency Fund

Before you apply

If your National Lottery Heritage Fund project is complete, please speak to your local engagement team for advice.

If your National Lottery Heritage Fund project is still running, we recommend you speak to your investment manager before you start an application. We will discuss the options available to you.

If you need to apply to us for any direct capital costs, that are not for emergency works, for an existing National Lottery Heritage Fund project, make sure you speak to your Investment Manager before you apply. We may be able to offer an increase to your existing grant.

When you are ready to apply

Please ensure that you have read the guidance and frequently asked questions, that you are eligible to apply, and have prepared your answers to the application questions in advance.

You also need to send us one supporting document (see below). Once you have submitted your application, we will email you with instructions to upload your supporting document. This is an automated email so please only send your supporting document.

  • A month by month cashflow forecast for your organisation covering at minimum the period for which you are applying for funding. By cashflow we mean a document showing the flow of income and expenditure you anticipate. You must include notes to explain the assumptions you are making regarding any reasonably anticipated income from any other emergency funding sources and expectations about re-opening sites to visitors.

Please note: the application form cannot be saved as you go along, it must be completed in one go.

the Heritage Emergency Fund is now closed. Read more about our funding programmes

Once you have submitted your application

We will check that your organisation and application meet the criteria outlined above. If your application does not meet the aims of the fund it may be rejected earlier in the assessment period, and we will let you know this at the time.

We may contact you for more information when we begin assessing your application.

We will aim to get back to you with a decision within two to four weeks of you submitting your full application, including the required supporting document. We may decide to offer you a different amount to the amount you request. Your grant award will be confirmed in writing.

This process is designed to be as quick and simple as possible, while still ensuring our funds are allocated to those who are most in need.

If you are awarded a grant

You will need to submit additional forms on our system so that we can make a payment.

We will let you know when you need to do this and guide you through the process. If you are awarded a grant, we will send you a new grant award letter and you will need to complete a permission to start form. When you have completed this process, we will pay 100% of your grant upfront.

We will not be accepting resubmissions under the Heritage Emergency Fund due to the immediate nature of this funding. If you have applied to the Heritage Emergency Fund for between £3,000 and £50,000 and have already received a decision, then you cannot apply for the £50,000 to £250,000 fund.

Reporting on your progress

We would like you to keep in touch and let us know if the risk to your organisation changes. There will also be two points where you will need to formally report to us: once during and once at the end of your project.

We are developing our support package and will be able to provide advice and business support opportunities online and through new programmes to be launched once social distancing measures are eased.

Evaluating the impact of the Heritage Emergency Fund

We, and other National Lottery partners who are also offering emergency support, will want to be able to track the impact that this has had for individual organisations, places and communities.

We will be putting in place an evaluation and will require you to take part in some straightforward data collection to support this.

Thanking National Lottery players

We understand that safeguarding the future of your heritage, your organisation and staff and volunteers will be your priority.

While social distancing measures are in place, we will ask successful applicants of grants to work with us on acknowledging their receipt of a Heritage Emergency Fund grant through our communication activities, including acknowledging the role of The National Lottery.

Additional support

There are other sources of support and funding available from Governments, and these are listed on our website.

Read the Heritage Emergency Fund Accessibility Statement

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