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Heritage Fund

Major shake-up for lottery heritage grants

When seeking lottery funding you will no longer apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund and its range of programmes including Heritage Grants, Sharing Heritage, or any of the other programmes you have been used to. A new and simplified portfolio covers all heritage grants and is called the National Lottery Heritage Fund – HF for short. This is an open programme for any type of heritage project, including Places of Worship with funding packages ranging from £3,000-£5 million.

The grants can be applied for immediately but, for grants up to £250,000, you will need to complete an initial project enquiry and for grants above that sum you will need to submit an early ‘expression of interest’ form. What you submit on these forms will help the HF decide whether to invite you to submit a full application. It is therefore vital that you have a clear plan on what you want to achieve for your church building. The How to Get Funding page tells you what is eligible for funding.  

First timers are a priority and you will need to have in mind the way you will meet the required outcomes of the HF.


The outcomes approach remains the same but with one new outcome on wellbeing which is number 4. The number of outcomes you will need to achieve will be proportionate to the size of grant you are applying for but every project will need to be inclusive in line with outcome 5.

Outcomes are now:

  1. Heritage will be in better condition
  2. Heritage will be identified and better explained – inspiring people to value heritage more
  3. People will have developed skills. People will have learnt about heritage, leading to change in ideas and actions.
  4. People will have greater wellbeing, demonstrating how heritage helps people and places to thrive.
  5. A wider range of people will be involved in heritage – heritage must be inclusive and everyone enabled to enjoy it.
  6. The funded organisation will be more resilient – HF will support the organizations it funds to be more robust, enterprising and forward looking.
  7. The local area will be a better place to live, work or visit. The local economy will be boosted.

Green and sustainable

The HF wants all projects they support to be able to demonstrate that they are good for the environment. Again this is proportionate to the size of grant and may involve such simple things as re-useable cups or tree planting.

Take your time

You may have all your specs and costings in place for capital works or activities, but if you skimp on the ‘outcomes’ specified by the HLF you will be unlikely to succeed. Many churches are unsure about what activities they can manage that will engage ‘a wider range of people’ with heritage. A sensible approach is to think carefully about what you want to do and consult with the wider community before you submit your project enquiry or expression of interest form. The HF asks organisations they fund to demonstrate how they have involved the local community and other partners in developing their plans so this should be your first priority.

There is no need to rush as the rolling deadlines for applications will remain for bids up to £100,000 with quarterly deadlines for larger amounts. Under the new system, third parties can be more widely included and the HF can be a minority funder.

Simpler applications

The application forms are designed to be more straightforward and the HF will offer single round grants up to £250,000. For grants over £250,000 you will still have a Development phase – to produce designs, plans etc. and a Delivery phase which will implement your capital work and activity plan.


As before, there will be time-limited campaigns and HF will launch two campaigns in 2019 focused on:

  • Helping organisations build their capacity and organisational resilience
  • Helping organisations to build digital capabilities


A new framework

Under the five-year funding framework (PDF) there are fewer area committees – three for England instead of nine - but with decisions on bids of £250,000-£5m delegated to them from the national board. The Cambridge office and staff will remain (tel. 01223 224870;  

The per capita allocation of budgets is: Northern Ireland 2.9% Wales 4.8% Scotland 8.4% England – North 23.7% England – Midlands and East 25.3% England – London and South 35%.