Grants for heritage organisations that have received NLHF funding in the past and are either a current grantee or still under contract following a previous grant and are most in need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Funding body: National Lottery Heritage Fund (Heritage Lottery Fund)
Maximum value: £ 250,000
Application deadline: 30/06/2020

The National Lottery Heritage Fund announced on 1 April 2020 that in order to meet the immediate needs of the organisations its supports during the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, it is halting all new single-stage delegated grants and Committee-level grants until at least October 2020. NLHF will continue to support the more than 2,500 projects that are already in delivery and development across the UK.

In addition, the NLHF has launched the new £50 million Heritage Emergency Fund which will consist of money diverted from new grants.

Objectives of Fund
The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) has set up a £50 million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It has been designed as short-term funding to support the immediate actions required to stabilise operations and manage unforeseen risks.

The Fund is intended for organisations that cannot secure funding from other sources.

There are two levels of funding, each of which has different priorities:

  • Level 1 grants launched in mid-April. Emergency grants of £3,000 to £50,000 will support essential costs for the next four months to help organisations deal with immediate risks and become more stable. This level of funding may also include some costs that help organisations look towards longer-term recovery.
  • Level 2 grants launched on 21 May. Emergency grants of £50,000 to £250,000 aim to help organisations that manage a heritage asset that is at risk over the next four months. This can include immediate costs, as well as costs to help organisations look towards longer-term recovery. Support will focus on heritage that has been significantly funded in the past, and that can demonstrate the vital contribution it has made to local communities.

Value Notes
There are two levels of emergency grants:

  • Level 1 grants of between £3,000 and £50,000
  • Level 2 grants of between £50,000 and £250,000.

In addition to the £50 million Heritage Emergency Fund, the support package includes increased advice and support, longer-term skills and capacity building initiatives for those most in need.

Match Funding Restrictions
Partnership funding is not required.

Who Can Apply
To be eligible, applicants must be:

  • A not-for-profit organisation.
  • A current or previous recipient of a grant directly from the Heritage Lottery.
  • An owner, manager or representative of heritage, or be able to show they have delivered participatory heritage activity.

Priority will be given to organisations that:

  • Have limited or no alternative access to other sources of support, for example, from Governments, other National Lottery distributors, other emergency funding from trusts and foundations.
  • Have already tried other options to stop being at risk such as putting projects on hold, rephasing milestones, repurposing other funding to support day-to-day operations, minimising costs but maximising the function of existing projects (value engineering).
  • Are in greater financial risk from COVID-19 due to a reliance on trading or community fundraising income streams.
  • Are in greater financial risk due to limited reserves.

The guidance notes identify further priorities, and applicants are strongly urged to read the guidance notes.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Statutory organisations, for example, local authorities, even if they have previously received funding from the NLHF.
  • Private owners of heritage, even if they have previously received funding from the NLHF.
  • Organisations that have previously only received funding from the NLHF for activity-based projects under £10,000.
  • Organisations mainly funded by UK and devolved Governments
  • Organisations that have already accepted emergency funding from another National Lottery distributor.
  • Costs that are eligible to be covered by Government support, for example, furloughing.
  • The remaining 20% salary costs for staff on furlough or any additional salary costs above the furloughing cap.
  • Redundancy costs of staff not funded by a current National Lottery Heritage Fund project.
  • Costs that are avoidable in the short term.
  • Costs incurred by applicants beyond four months from the point of their application.
  • Anything that contravenes Governments’ advice on COVID-19.

Eligible Expenditure
As a guide, organisations can apply for emergency funding to cover costs to:

  • Stabilise their organisation in the immediate term to make sure the vital heritage they care for is not put further at risk by COVID-19 (for example, staff costs to allow you to respond, design and deliver plans)
  • Help them plan and initiate mothballing of (putting aside or withdrawing from use) their heritage asset/s and other approaches to protecting heritage that is at risk
  • Run immediate risk management reviews and the actions identified as needed to safe guard their organisation
  • Reconfigure business plans, governance and activity needed to help safeguard the future of their organisation
  • Cover essential operational costs, for example, site security, maintaining climatic conditions for collections, or managing livestock on habitats.

Level 2 funding can help with:

  • Stabilising an organisation or heritage asset
  • Protecting heritage through mothballing
  • Reconfiguring business plans
  • Covering essential costs such as site security or maintaining natural habitats
  • Increasing digital activities during this period
  • Testing new activities that will help with recovery
  • Revising strategic and operating plans

How To Apply
Level 1 grant applications will be accepted from 15 April 2020 to 30 June 2020.

Level 2 grant applications will be accepted from 21 May 2020 to 30 June 2020.

The guidance notes and the FAQs are available on the National Lottery Heritage Fund website.

Useful Links
Heritage Emergency Fund
National Lottery Heritage Fund

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