Heritage Emergency Fund FAQs

Illustration of speech bubbles, one with a question mark
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  

Last updated: 21 May 2020

These FAQs are designed to help organisations understand the Heritage Emergency Fund. Applicants should also read the full application guidance

The FAQs are divided into four sections:

  • General FAQs.
  • FAQs for the second Heritage Emergency Fund strand: £50,000 - £250,000.
  • FAQs for existing grantees and our open programmes.
  • A note on The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 

 

General FAQs

 

Who is the Heritage Emergency Fund for?

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

To apply for the Heritage Emergency Fund, you must be:  

  • a not-for-profit organisation 

  • a current or previous recipient of a grant directly from us  

  • an owner, manager or representative of heritage, or have an evidenced track record in delivering participatory heritage activity  

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

When will I be able to apply?

The Heritage Emergency Fund is open for applications until 30 June 2020. 

If organisations don’t apply straight away, is there a risk they will miss out because the whole £50m has already been allocated?

No. The Heritage Emergency Fund is open until June and funding will be allocated across the period.

We encourage organisations not to rush their applications. We advise them to read the application guidance carefully and make sure they are asking for the right support through the Heritage Emergency Fund. 

Why are you closing the fund in June? It may take some organisations longer to apply because they don’t have a full assessment of the impact.

The Heritage Emergency Fund is the first part of a wider package of support for the heritage sector. It is designed to provide immediate funding to stabilise operations and manage unforeseen risks.

What happens if we are not successful?

We will let you know If your application is unsuccessful. You will not be able to submit another application.

Why doesn't the guidance ask organisations to calculate their costs through Full Cost Recovery?

We will not be asking for information on Full Cost Recovery (FCR) as part of the Heritage Emergency Fund. We will not make any funding through an FCR model, but via direct contributions to staff and running costs. 

Will you fund costs incurred before we made our application to the Heritage Emergency Fund?

No. If you accrue costs between the submission of your application and our decision to award funding, we will cover that period. 

We will not fund any costs incurred from the time before you submit your application.  

Will the full grant be paid upfront?

Yes. These are emergency grants and we will pay them as quickly as possible. 

We have large unrestricted reserves, can we apply to the Heritage Emergency Fund?

We expect you to use your unrestricted reserves as far as reasonable to help your organisation through the current difficulties. By large unrestricted reserves we mean those organisations that have reserves to support at least six months of operations. The guidance for the Heritage Emergency Fund sets out who can apply and how we will prioritise applications. If you do apply, you should explain your approach to your use of unrestricted reserves in your application.

Can places of worship apply to the Heritage Emergency Fund?

Places of worship can apply to the fund for emergency costs associated with the protection of their heritage. They need to have explored whether their project can be supported through other emergency funds before submitting an application to us. 

For Church of England applicants, parishes should be in touch with their diocese to explore any support that might be available in advance of applying to the Heritage Emergency Fund.

My museum is in the Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio scheme. Can we apply to both ACE and your emergency funding?

Both ourselves and ACE think it would be best for most museum National Portfolio Organisations (NPO) that need support to make an application to the Arts Council’s emergency fund rather than to our Heritage Emergency Fund, as they will be in receipt of revenue funding from the Arts Council.

Should you apply to both of us, you must indicate in your applications that you have done so (or intend to do so), but you should only accept funding from one funder.
 

How are funding decisions made?

A panel made up of members of our senior management team will meet every two weeks to make decisions. 

This will include representatives from the four nations. We will ensure that projects across the UK that are in most need are able to access funding. We will monitor the spread of funding (eg by geography and sector) to ensure that all parts of the UK and all types of heritage are benefiting.  

If you are prioritising certain types of heritage, is there any point applying?

Yes. The Heritage Emergency Fund programme is focusing on supporting the full breadth of heritage through the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency period. Please review the guidance for more information on what we can support. 

I haven’t received funding from you in the past. Is there anything you can do to help?

We are working on providing support and advice to help organisations improve their resilience and increase digital skills. These will be available to our existing grantees and the wider heritage sector, including non-grantees. More information will be available in due course. 

Other sources of funding available are listed on our website.

Why are you not using the normal application system – all our organisation details are already in there?

The Heritage Emergency Fund has been designed to respond directly to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and to ensure we can get funding out quickly to those most at need. We are asking different questions and running the process in a different way to respond to the needs of the sector.

Why can’t we save the form and come back?

The software the form has been built with does not allow this for data and privacy reasons. We have deliberately kept the application form short and focused so it can all be completed in one go.

We recommend that you read the guidance carefully and prepare your answers in advance of starting to complete the form.

This seems more work than a normal application?

It should not be. The application form and process has been designed to focus on the critical questions and information that we need to make decisions so we can support organisations at this time of crisis.

How will we know our application has been received?

We will send you an email response when it has been received. Please remember to check all your inboxes, including your spam/junk inbox.

If you have not heard from us within three working days of submitting your application please contact us.

Can you email us a copy of our application?

We are not able to do this so it is important that you save a copy of the information you plan to submit in your application.

We can’t remember our previous grant reference number (or can’t access it because we are working from home)?

You cannot proceed with an application to the Heritage Emergency Fund without this number. The reference number will have been used on all correspondence with your organisation about your previous grant(s) and this information will still be available via the application portal. You can log on to the application portal via any computer as long as you have your log in details.

As a last resort, you can contact your local office and request your grant reference number.

We didn’t get any emails after we submitted our form (or our supporting documents)?

Please check your spam. If you have not heard from us within three days of submitting your application please contact us.

We can’t access work emails because we are working from home, what do we do?

You can use a non-work email for this application form.

We can’t access financial reports because we are working from home, what do we do?

You will need to get this information or you cannot proceed with an application to the Heritage Emergency Fund. You need current financial information to be able to complete the application and supporting materials.

When will we hear if we’ve got funding?

Once we have a complete application (form and supporting information) we will pass your application for assessment. We will make a decision on your application within two to four weeks.

Our previous grant is older than 10 years, can we still apply?

You can apply but we are expecting a high demand for this type of funding and organisations that completed their last National Lottery Heritage Fund project over 10 years ago will be a lower priority for support.

Can large UK wide heritage charities apply?

Yes but these organisation are a lower priority for support through the Heritage Emergency Fund. It is unlikely that a grant of between £3,000 and £50,000 will be sufficient to support a large organisation through the current crisis.

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.

You say that organisation that have significant and ongoing resilience issues pre-dating the COVID-19 emergency are a lower priority for support through the Heritage Emergency Fund. How do you define these resilient issues?

These will be looked at on a case by case basis. We are asking organisations to submit financial information as part of their application. If it is clear that the financial situation has not arisen because of the current crisis then it is unlikely that your application will be a priority for support.

We recommend that organisations with existing grants talk to their Investment/Senior Investment Managers to discuss their situations.

Our organisation has multiple heritage assets all under the same charity registration and organisational name. Can we make more than one application to the Heritage Emergency Fund?

No. We expect organisations to make a single application to the Heritage Emergency Fund. The fund is to help organisations stabilise operations and manage unforeseen risks. The funding can cover unavoidable costs you will otherwise be unable to meet for up to four months.

You should only apply to us for essential costs, but these can be made up of costs across several heritage sites/assets.

Can this money be used as revenue funding?

Yes. We are providing organisations with access to funding for operational costs. The Heritage Emergency Fund is short-term funding to support the immediate actions required to stabilise operations and manage unforeseen risks.

The funding can cover unavoidable costs you will otherwise be unable to meet for up to four months. You should only apply to us for essential costs. 

This is taking too long, we are in crisis

We are accountable for the funding we give out, even in an emergency situation and hence we need to have a process to ensure that we award this funding in a fair and open manner. We are making decisions in two to four weeks which should be sufficient to help most organisations.

You can speed up the process by ensuring that your application is complete and your supporting documents are submitted as soon as possible.

Can the Heritage Emergency Fund support digital costs?

The Heritage Emergency Fund can be used to support essential IT equipment and connectivity costs to support homeworking and public facing activity.

For example, where the organisation does not own any IT equipment and/or staff members do not have access to broadband, the costs of laptops and data plans can be included in bids for support. Only essential costs should be submitted here, and any equipment costs should be as competitive as possible.

By ‘public facing’ we mean activities that enable the organisation to put information about itself online and interact with its community. For example, sending out email newsletters, updating a website or blog, posting information to social media sites, or taking part in video conference calls.

Our Digital Skills for Heritage initiative supports organisations to develop their digital practice during the current crisis and beyond.

Is the Digital Skills for Heritage separate to the Heritage Emergency Fund, and will you continue to take open applications for that fund? And can you apply to both these funds?

The Digital Skills for Heritage initiative is a stand-alone part of our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. It is separate from the Heritage Emergence Fund. There is no open grant programme associated with the digital initiative at this time. The Heritage Emergency Fund is our only open programme.

Digital Skills for Heritage provides digital skills support, particularly training and resources. Opportunities are open to all heritage organisations, whether or not they have been funded by us previously. The initiative is designed to help get organisations online by developing skills that will support them beyond the current crisis and into the future.

If an application to the Heritage Emergency Fund is rejected, can we appeal or reapply with a rescoped project?

No. There is no provision for appeal or reapplications. 

Can I make a complaint about how you have dealt with my Heritage Emergency Fund application and how do I do this?

We understand that you will be disappointed with the decision. You can make a complaint about how we have dealt with your application after it has been assessed by the decision panel but 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.

What happens after I have submitted a complaint relating to how you have dealt with my Heritage Emergency Fund application?

We aim to acknowledge your complaint within three working days. Your complaint will be reviewed by a Complaints Panel, who are independent of the Heritage Emergency Fund Decision Panel.

We aim to communicate a decision within 15 working days from when you submitted your complaint. This is a single stage process and there is no right to review this response. If your complaint is upheld, your application will be re-submitted for assessment. 

How do I find out more about the Heritage Emergency Fund Complaints procedure?

Contact our Customer Services Team on 020 7591 6044 or email enquire@heritagefund.org.uk.

I have been awarded a Heritage Emergency Fund Grant and it is less than I asked for. Can I appeal?

We understand that you will be disappointed with the decision. There is no provision for appeal or re-applications.

I do not meet the eligibility criteria for the Heritage Emergency Fund. Can I make a complaint about this?

No. We understand you will be disappointed that you are unable to apply to the Heritage Emergency Fund. You may be eligible for other support as we develop our longer-term strategic support and other initiatives. Please check our website for updates. 

To assist you, we have listed some alternative support on our website which might be relevant to you and your organisation and we will update this with more information as it becomes available.

 

FAQs for the second Heritage Emergency Fund strand: £50,000 - £250,000

 

What is the difference between the two strands of the Heritage Emergency Fund?

Both strands of the Heritage Emergency Fund are helping organisations address immediate risks, become more stable and work towards longer-term recovery. The guidance materials set out the requirements for both strands of the funding.

The £50,000 - £250,000 strand of funding is prioritising support to heritage that is at risk because of coronavirus (COVID-19) and to organisations that have received significant funding from us in the past, and are able to demonstrate a track record and future potential to deliver strongly on our published outcomes for inclusion, wellbeing and the economy.

Which strand of the Heritage Emergency Fund should I apply for?

Both strands are designed to help with essential running costs for your organisation over the next four months, once you have accessed other support that is available from Government. You should review the needs of the heritage you manage and your organisation’s financial situation to establish what level and type of support you might require.

We advise you to read our guidance materials carefully. They outline the priorities for support under each strand of the Heritage Emergency Fund.

Can we get pre-application advice on our potential application?

Yes. You can contact your local team and they will be able to give you advice about whether or not your organisation should apply to the fund. They will also be able to give you advice about the types of things we can support through the Heritage Emergency Fund and which strand of funding might be most appropriate to help your organisation and heritage.

Can the Heritage Emergency Fund support our organisation to prepare to reopen our heritage site/asset?

Yes, the Heritage Emergency Fund can cover some of the costs to help you begin to think about recovery. This could include trialling new ways of working to improve the stability of your organisation.

We also have a wider package of support for the heritage sector including our Digital Skills for Heritage initiative and business support training.

We have an application submitted for the £3,000 - £50,000 strand of the Heritage Emergency Fund, but we need more funding. What should we do?

We advise you to review the application guidance for the new strand of the Heritage Emergency Fund and work out if you are eligible to apply. You should then get in touch with your local team – they can discuss your situation and advise you how to transfer your application, if appropriate.

We already received a grant from the £3,000 - £50,000 strand of the Heritage Emergency Fund, but we need more funding. What should we do?

The Heritage Emergency Fund is designed to help with essential running costs for your organisation over the next four months, once you have accessed other support that is available from Government. We are not accepting repeat applications to the Heritage Emergency Fund. If your circumstances have changed exceptionally since your application, please contact your Investment Manager for advice.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency is passing, why are you still giving out emergency funding?

The heritage sector, like many other sectors, is still facing a crisis situation as social distancing, opening and trading restrictions remain in place. Our Heritage Emergency Fund is designed to support the sector to deal with the impacts of these continued restrictions.

Why is the Heritage Emergency Fund closing at the end of June?

The Heritage Emergency Fund is supporting organisations through the immediate impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). We will keep the 30 June deadline under review.

We’re developing further support options in the coming weeks and months as we gather insight into the changing needs of heritage and the heritage sector.

The new level of funding is only open to applications from 21 May to 30 June. Why is the timescale so tight for getting an application in?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is unprecedented and we have been working to ensure that our funding can support heritage and the heritage sector. We have responded to requests from the sector to get funding out quickly. Though the timescales are tight we’ve designed the Heritage Emergency Fund to be straightforward and simple to apply to. We will have more support options emerging in the coming months.

We were not successful with our application to the £3,000 - £50,000 strand of the Heritage Emergency Fund, can we apply to this strand?

No. If your application was not successful at the £3,000 - £50,000 strand then we do not recommend you apply to the £50,000 - 250,000 strand.

If we apply to the £50,000-£250,000 strand of the Heritage Emergency Fund and are not successful, can we then apply to the £3,000 - £50,000 strand?

No. If our decision panel decides that you need support but are not in a position to award the level of grant requested, they will offer you the amount they are prepared to award. If your application was not successful then you should not make any further applications to the Heritage Emergency Fund.

Is this funding coming out of the £50million you already announced or is this additional support?

Yes, grants made through both strands of the Heritage Emergency Fund will come from our £50million emergency funding.

 

FAQs for existing grantees and our open programmes

 

Are there other sources of emergency funding I should be looking at?

Yes. The Heritage Emergency Fund is for organisations that cannot secure funding from other sources.

We expect all applicants to have explored other funding options, particularly government funding such as supporting staff salaries and the income of self-employed workers.

We are at risk of permanent closure – what support can you give?

Please review the Heritage Emergency Fund guidance and contact your local team to discuss your options. We will be working collaboratively with partners across the sector to try to secure the best outcomes for people and heritage.  

Will you still make payments to existing grantees?

We are committed to supporting our existing grantees and will be discussing with you how the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis affects your current project/s. We want to be as flexible as possible in supporting you through this.  

We have received funding and want to delay the start of our project. Is that OK?

We will try to be as flexible as possible with the terms of your grant/delivery of your project. 

If you need to delay your project, you should speak to your Investment Manager or Senior Investment Manager in your local office. 

We want to restart our funded project, what should we do?

You should only restart your funded project if it is safe to do. You should continue to follow the government’s guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19). If you feel that it is safe to restart your funded project, you should contact your Investment Manager for further advice about your next steps.

Why have you paused funding on new grants?

We have paused our grants so we can focus on our emergency response and support heritage organisations most at risk.

We know this is very tough if you are preparing an application or awaiting a funding decision. We will publish more details about future grants in due course.

Who is affected by the decision to pause all new funding grants?

This affects all organisations that had submitted an application to our National Lottery Grants for Heritage grant programme (all grant levels from £3,000 to £5m) and Heritage Enterprise grant programme and are yet to receive a decision.  

It excludes any organisation that have been awarded development funding and submitted – or are planning to submit – a delivery grant application.  

Are you still open for new applications?

No. We have paused receipt of new applications. However, we are accepting delivery applications from organisations that have been awarded development funding.

We are focusing all our efforts on supporting our existing grantees and delivering our Heritage Emergency Fund for the sector. 

Can I/will I have to reapply for the same project?

In principle, yes. We will accept an application for the same project when our application processes reopen in due course.  

At that time, we would advise you to review the application materials on our website and get in touch with the Investment Manager or Senior Investment Manager in your local office for advice.

When are your normal funding programmes going to re-open for enquiries and applications?

We will not be reopening the normal funding programmes until at least October 2020. We are keeping the situation under constant review as we gather insight into the changing needs of heritage and the heritage sector.

How should I keep up to date with new information?

We would strongly advise you to sign up to our newsletter and follow our social media channels:

All updated information will appear on our website.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 

The National Lottery Heritage Fund recommends all grantees and applicants consider whether an application to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would be a way to mitigate some of the challenges posed by the current situation. Organisations should refer to the government’s published guidance.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s grantees receive public funding to deliver our policy outcomes, which are set out by each grantee in their application. Our grantees could be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) so long as:

  • They are not primarily funded by the government, and their staff cannot be redeployed to assist with the coronavirus (COVID-19) response.
  • They do not already receive public funding that is explicitly designed to cover the staff costs for which they are now claiming.*
  • The combined total of their grants and Job Retention Scheme payments should not represent more than 100% of the level of total income they would have expected to receive for salaries and associated salary costs during this period in a non-COVID scenario (for the avoidance of doubt, this includes earned and contributed income).

The National Lottery Heritage Fund will allow grantees to vary their grants which had been allocated to paying for staff who are eligible for the CJRS, in order to enable them to allocate funding to other essential activities in order to ensure continued liquidity. The grantee should discuss their proposals with their Investment/Senior Investment Manager.

We will ask all organisations who have applied to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and who are existing grant holders to confirm that:

  • They are not primarily funded by the government, and the staff being considered for the CJRS cannot be redeployed to assist with the coronavirus (COVID-19) response.
  • They are not using this and government funds to double fund the salaries of furloughed employees.
  • The payments they receive as a result of the Job Retention Scheme do not combine with their existing and anticipated public funding to mean that they are now receiving total public funding that exceeds their anticipated level of income to cover salaries and associated salary costs for this period.
  • Written confirmation will be added as a condition for their next grant payment.

*We cannot advise organisations on eligibility for the government’s scheme. We provide project funding for organisations which would normally include a proportion of salary costs. Please note the Government’s advice may be subject to change and you should refer back to the Government’s website for the latest advice. 

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