Grants are available for arts, museums and libraries projects that engage people in England with arts and culture.

Funding body: Arts Council England
Maximum value: £ 100,000
Application deadline: None specified

Arts Council England has created National Lottery Project Grants as an open-access programme for arts, museums and libraries projects.

Objectives of Fund
This grants programme is intended to help the Arts Council achieve its mission of ‘Great art and culture for everyone’. It also provides a means to support a broad range of not-for-profit projects that create and sustain quality work and help people across England to engage with arts and culture.

The programme supports development by allowing artists, cultural practitioners and organisations to work in new ways and to get their work out to new audiences.

In light of the impact that the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis has had on the sector, between July 2020 and April 2021 the programme will aim to support individuals and organisations to get activities up and running again, and to help people take their first steps in getting re-engaged with culture and creativity.

Value Notes
The budget available between July 2020 and April 2021 is £59.8 million.

Grants of between £1,000 and £100,000 are available.

The funding can support projects lasting up to a maximum of three years.

Match Funding Restrictions
Normally, match funding of at least 10% is required but this requirement has been removed for grants awarded until April 2021, due to the impact of the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis.

Who Can Apply
Individuals and organisations can apply.

To be eligible, applicants (individual or organisation) must:

  • Be based within (live in or have a business address in) the European Union.
  • Have a UK bank account in the exact name they are applying in.
  • Be at least 18 years old (for organisations: have an accountable person who is at least 18).

The following information is for organisations:

  • Organisations refers to a group of people working towards a common goal with a governing document that covers the type of project being applied. This could be, for example, a charity, a limited company or an unincorporated group. Examples would be arts organisations, museums, libraries, Music Education Hubs, and organisations that use the arts in their work.
  • All organisations need to have a bank account in the organisation’s name, with two signatories.
  • Limited companies and registered charities need to have a registered office in the UK.
  • Existing members of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio cannot apply for less than £15,000, and are only eligible to apply to Project Grants for National Activities where the application is for more than £100,000, meets the definition of National Activities and where the project is additional to their NPO funded programme.
  • Applications will be accepted from organisations working as a consortium, partnership, network or group. For non-constituted consortiums or groups, one organisation must act as the lead organisation and submit the application. If the application goes on to be successful, this organisation would then be accountable for the grant.


The grants cannot be used to fund costs that have already occurred (retrospective funding) or losses (debt mitigation).

A full list of restrictions applying to the different types of organisations eligible for grants can be found in the guidance notes.

Eligible Expenditure
The grants programme supports a broad range of creative and cultural projects that benefit people living in England. Projects can range from directly creating and delivering creative and cultural activity to projects which have a longer term positive impact, such as organisational development, research and development and sector support and development.

The funding is for projects that are focused on one or more of the following disciplines:

  • Music.
  • Theatre.
  • Dance.
  • Visual arts.
  • Literature.
  • Combined arts – including festivals and carnivals.
  • Museum practice (accredited museums only).
  • Libraries (for activities that deliver against at least one of the four Universal Library Offers: Creativity and Culture; Reading; Information and Digital; Health and Wellbeing).

Grants can support projects where the capital-specific expenditure in a project totals less than £100,000. This includes:

  • Applications for capital work only, where that capital work will cost up to £100,000.
  • Applications for a mix of activities that include some capital spending where the total cost of the capital work is less than £100,000.
  • Applications must meet the programme’s four criteria: Quality, Public engagement, Finance and Management.

Because of the circumstances during the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, the programme will be particularly keen to support:

  • Applications from individual creative practitioners (including time to think and plan).
  • Research and development activity.
  • Organisational development activity.
  • Live activity that can be safely delivered within this period (rather than activity with a start date far in the future).
  • Activity that closely aligns with the Arts Council’s Equality Objectives.

How To Apply
After being suspended in March 2020 due to the impact of coronavirus/COVID-19, the Programme re-opened for applications on 22 July 2020. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Groups should first read the How to apply documents and the supplementary guidance regarding the priorities and criteria that apply between July 2020 and April 2021 in light of the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, all of which can be found on the Arts Council England website.

Applications are made using Arts Council England’s Grantium system.

The programme is open on an ongoing basis, and has a quick turnaround:

Applications for £15,000 or under will receive a decision in six weeks.
Applications for more than £15,000 will receive a decision in 12 weeks.

Useful Links
Arts Council England – National Lottery Projects Grants

Have a news article you'd
like to share?

Click the link below to submit your article to us

Submit Article