Historic England launches second emergency fund to help the 78% of firms in danger of failing

Historic England has made another £3million available to help heritage properties re-open and protect the livelihoods of those working in the heritage sector, such as stonemasons, 78% having said their businesses will collapse before the end of the year without help.

Historic England has launched a second emergency fund to support the heritage sector recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

It is making up to £3million available in grants of up to £25,000 each to help fund urgent maintenance, repairs and investigations.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, says the business generated by the grants will help heritage specialists, whose livelihoods have been severely affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

The grants are being offered to fix urgent problems so sites can re-open as quickly as possible, subject to Covid-19 restrictions. The funding can be used to address problems such as damaged roofs, masonry and windows, to hire scaffolding to prevent structural collapse, or commission surveys necessary to find out what urgent repairs are needed.

Historic England, which is responsible for protecting and championing the nation’s historic environment, has developed the Covid-19 Heritage at Risk Response Fund following its own comprehensive survey of heritage organisations. The survey revealed the serious impact of Coronavirus on the sector - and loss or postponement of work was the most commonly reported effect of the outbreak.

Those hardest hit have been trades people such as stonemasons and glaziers, as well as architects and surveyors. More than three-quarters (78%) reported to Historic England's survey that they are facing the failure of their businesses and expect to cease trading by October without additional support.

"This fund will generate work for these professionals from early autumn and develop a pipeline of projects," says Duncan Wilson.

"Informed by the findings of our survey, this emergency fund aims to generate new work for those professionals and small businesses most vulnerable within the heritage sector as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, at the same time protecting significant historic sites where our support is most needed. It is vital that we keep the wheels of the sector turning in order to protect livelihoods and save our heritage, which enriches people’s lives and is a source of national and local pride."