National Lottery Heritage Fund opens £50m emergency scheme

Past and present grantees can apply for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000, says the NLHF

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has unveiled a £50m emergency fund to support heritage projects in crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The funder’s past and current grantees, or those still under contract from previous grants, can apply for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000.

A survey by the NLHF of more than 1,250 heritage organisations revealed that 82 per cent of respondents reported a high or moderate risk to their organisation’s long-term viability as a result of coronavirus, 35 per cent said their financial reserves would be depleted within four months, and 46 per cent said they would be unable to survive for more than six months.

The cash for the fund would be diverted from planned new grants, with all new grant applications halted with immediate effect, the grant-maker said.

But delivery awards for projects that had already received development funding would continue to be made throughout the crisis on the existing competitive basis, it said.

Eilish McGuinness, executive director for business delivery at the NLHF, said: “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 affected organisations.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said his own organisation was also planning to offer emergency financial support and would announce details soon.

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