Heritage Emergency Fund to support recovery costs of sector

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Heritage Emergency Fund grants can now be used to help organisations reopen after the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, while the application deadline has been extended.

We have expanded our £50million Heritage Emergency Fund criteria to help heritage organisations safely reopen in line with Government guidelines.

The deadline to apply has also been extended to 12noon Friday 31 July.

"We are keen to help organisations in planning for the recovery that is so vital for heritage, its people and communities.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “This is still a time of great change and uncertainty for heritage organisations, and we are with them in heart and mind right now as they take uncertain steps back into a fast-changing world.

"We are keen to help them in planning for the recovery that is so vital for heritage, its people and communities.”

Helping the sector to recover

You can now apply to use our funding to help your organisation reopen and recover from the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This could include strategic reviews of business models, operating plans and business plans, or investment to enable digital delivery of services. You could also use the funding to help you manage your site while following social distancing guidelines, for example:

  • additional staff to help manage queues
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff and volunteers
  • training
  • additional cleaning
  • implementing contactless payment methods
  • temporary structures to help manage visitors such as shelter for queues or additional toilets

Find out more on how to apply on our funding page. Your local teams can give advice on what we can support and how to apply.

Please be aware that Government guidelines on how and when to reopen may vary across the UK.

Extended deadline

Organisations now have until 12noon Friday 31 July to apply for the Heritage Emergency Fund.

Using funding made possible by The National Lottery, we're helping heritage organisations survive the significant impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic with grants from £3,000-£50,000 and £50,000-£250,000. 

Saving the nation’s heritage

We are proud to have already supported hundreds of heritage organisations across the UK survive the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis through the Heritage Emergency Fund. 

These have included:

Hestercombe Gardens Trust, Somerset – £122,000 

Hestercombe Gardens closed on 23 March and 55 out of 63 staff were furloughed. The Heritage Emergency Fund grant covers four months’ operating costs.

Llandudno Museum & Gallery, North Wales – £31,400

Redevelopment construction work had ceased due to coronavirus (COVID-19), and the museum was not able to meet its original plan to open in June. The grant will help to sustain the museum financially.

Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, London – £11,900

One of London’s Magnificent Seven cemeteries, home to rare and protected species of bees and butterflies. The grant is covering urgent works to prevent risk and preserve the biodiversity and built heritage of the site.

Wensleydale Railway Association – £50,000

The heritage railway in the Yorkshire Dales has been closed since March and its staff furloughed. With no train services running the railway has not received any of its usual income. The grant is being used to refurbish three coaches and to undertake essential maintenance.

Scottish Seabird  Centre, Scotland – £50,000

The Scottish Seabird Centre is a marine conservation and education charity which is supported by a visitor attraction in North Berwick, Scotland. The instant loss of visitor income meant that the charity was at the point of collapse. Our funding, along with additional funding it helped unlock, will support the charity.

IROKO Theatre Company, London – £5,300

IROKO theatre company uses traditional African theatre to enhance the education, health and wellbeing of people from all backgrounds and nationalities. Their grant will cover overhead costs and strategic planning to respond to the pandemic.

Clifton House, North Belfast – £18,900

Clifton House, which dates from 1774, served as the city’s Poor House and first hospital. Belfast Charitable Society was faced with a substantial loss of income when the building closed to the general public. The team are planning to provide access through virtual talks and a virtual tour.  

Digital Skills for Heritage

Our Digital Skills for Heritage initiative is designed to raise digital skills and confidence across the whole UK heritage sector. 

Find out more, take a look at our handy guides and book into our popular webinars.

Identify your organisation's digital strengths and weaknesses using our Digital Attitudes and Skills for Heritage (DASH) survey. The deadline to take part is Friday 26 June.

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