£50million emergency fund from National Lottery Heritage Fund to support heritage through Covid-19

£50million is being diverted from new projects to support existing projects by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF).

The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) is making £50million available in response to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on the UK’s heritage, it was announced today (1 April).

Details will be available shortly on the NLHF website.

The emergency funding will be diverted from planned new grants, with all new grant applications halted with immediate effect. Delivery awards for projects that have already received development funding will continue to be made throughout the crisis on the existing competitive basis.

Grants from the new Emergency Fund will be open for applications and further details provided on the selection criteria and how to apply in the next few days. Decisions will be made as quickly as possible to support the sector.

The new Heritage Emergency Fund will address immediate pressures over the next 3-6 months for those most in need. It will also aim to increase investment in essential digital skills across the sector by providing expertise in areas such as digital fundraising, use of social media and communications and running online events and activities.

In addition, the National Lottery Heritage Fund is continuing to support 2,500 projects already in delivery across the UK – an overall commitment of £1.1billion. This funding is made possible by people playing the National Lottery.

Funding through the Emergency Fund for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000 will be available to organisations that have received funding in the past and are either a current grantee or still under contract following a previous grant.

Applications will be open to the full breadth of heritage, from historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives to parks, gardens, landscapes and nature. Priority will be given where there is limited or no access to other sources of support, or where heritage is most at risk.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has surveyed more than 1,250 heritage organisations on the effect of the Covid-19 crisis. 82% of respondents reported a high or moderate risk to their organisation’s long-term viability. 35% stated their financial reserves will be depleted within four months. And 46% said they can survive for no more than six months (read more here).

Eilish McGuinness, Executive Director, Business Delivery, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, says: “We know that circumstances are incredibly challenging for our heritage community right now and we want to do everything we can to support them. We hope this new Emergency Fund and our investment in digital capability will be a lifeline for organisations affected.'

The Emergency Fund is part of a wider raft of support available from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, for heritage organisations affected by the crisis, which includes:

  • Continuing to support those 2,500 organisations where funding of £1.1billion is already committed by being as flexible as possible, allowing for delays or changes in the way projects are delivered, relaxing normal grant conditions and bringing forward payments if necessary.
  • A further £2million for ROSS consultants – the experts who support projects, help run delivery, mentor, monitor and help with business plans and so on. Heritage Lottery will be directing that support to organisations in need as a result of the crisis and in doing so supporting several hundred freelancers and self-employed people.
  • Continuing to make round two delivery awards throughout the crisis on a competitive basis as usual.
  • Working closely with the Government, other funders and heritage organisations to align help and support and ensure the best possible outcome for heritage.
  • Providing bespoke advice and support via our local teams and, in some cases, specialist mentor support.