COVID-19 Response Fund

Is this fund right for you?

  • Are you applying for funding to support a nationally important heritage asset in the UK?
  • Is the heritage asset at risk due to the impact of the COVID-19?
  • Have you explored all other sources of funding?
  • Will the heritage asset be publicly accessible if you secure NHMF funding?
  • Are you a not-for-profit organisation?

Overview

Launched in June 2021, this funding stream offers project grants to support any heritage asset which is:

  • of outstanding importance to the national heritage
  • at risk due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19)

A total of £40million is being distributed by NHMF, made up of two lots of £20m:

  • NHMF has made a commitment of £20m, which is available to applicants from across the UK.
  • A £20m Cultural Assets Fund has been made available by DCMS as part of the government’s wider Culture Recovery Fund. This funding will safeguard nationally important heritage assets within England.

Distributing NHMF’s own commitment as a single fund with the Cultural Assets Fund will ensure a UK-wide balance of funding.

This funding is available until the end of April 2023. There are no deadlines for applications.

Things you need to know

Who can apply

  • charities
  • not-for-profit organisations, for example voluntary groups, trusts, social enterprises and community interest companies
  • public sector organisations

Who cannot apply

  • private individuals
  • commercial and for profit businesses

What can be funded

We can support any heritage asset which is of outstanding importance to the national heritage and at risk due to the impact of COVID-19, through a project grant.

Examples include:

  • works of fine and decorative art
  • museum collections
  • archives
  • manuscripts
  • items of industrial, transport and maritime heritage
  • historic buildings and land

NHMF can fund a range of costs in order to safeguard the heritage asset which is at risk. These include:

  • acquisition/purchase costs, including associated professional fees
  • transport costs, including conservation standard handling and packing for collections or heavy lift/transport costs for large items/historic vehicles
  • interim storage costs and investment in new permanent storage capacity
  • urgent conservation work necessary due to COVID-19 impact and investment to resolve maintenance backlog/deficit, collection care costs
  • condition surveys, cataloguing, management and conservation planning
  • professional fees, including legal and other fees to support asset transfer
  • ownership transition costs; fixed term support to enable sustainable rehoming of heritage asset
  • organisational development costs to support asset transfer; skills development/capacity building, business review and business planning support

What cannot be funded

We cannot fund:

  • organisational costs that are eligible to be covered by other Government support, for example, furloughing (inclusive of the remaining percentage of salary costs for staff not covered by the Government’s Job Retention Scheme), or any additional salary costs above the furloughing cap
  • redundancy costs of staff
  • costs that are avoidable in the short term
  • anything that contravenes the Governments’ advice on COVID-19
  • recoverable VAT

Nor can we fund items that have already been purchased, or that have been secured with a down payment or deposit. So if an item has already been paid for, you cannot apply for funding to reimburse the individual or organisation that bought it.

Other funding contributions

NHMF can fund heritage projects of all sizes and there is no limit to the percentage of funding that can be applied for. We appreciate that in these challenging times it may not be possible to secure other funding contributions.

However, NHMF operates as a fund of last resort, so we ask you to show that you have explored, or are exploring, all other possible sources of funding, including your own resources.

Making an application

Application guidance pack

Refer to the application guidance pack before applying. This includes:

  • Full details about the application process, including how we assess applications.
  • What you need to do if you receive a grant.
  • Help notes to support you when making an application.

Download the pack:

Submit an Expression of Interest

If you wish to apply to the COVID-19 Response Fund you must first submit an Expression of Interest. This is an essential first step in the application process.

We recognise that organisations seeking support may be facing complex challenges, so we encourage you to contact us for advice before you submit an Expression of Interest form. Please contact us at NHMF-Enquiries@heritagefund.org.uk.

Use our online grants portal to submit your Expression of Interest. We will review this and ask you to move on to a full application if appropriate.

Application deadlines

There are no deadlines for applications. The fund will close at the end of April 2023.

About the Cultural Assets Fund

Funding for heritage assets within England will be provided from the Cultural Assets Fund. This £20m allocation of funding has been made by DCMS for NHMF to distribute alongside our own commitment of £20m. Distributing NHMF’s own commitment as a single fund with the Cultural Assets Fund will ensure a UK wide balance of funding.

The Cultural Assets Fund comes from the Cultural Recovery Fund and has been allocated to NHMF to safeguard nationally important heritage assets within England which are at risk due to the impacts of COVID-19.

The Cultural Assets Fund will be distributed by NHMF in 2021/22 and 2022/23. We will work in close partnership with Historic England, Arts Council England and The National Archives, to ensure that nationally important heritage is safeguarded in the most appropriate way. These partners will join our NHMF Panel for discussion of Cultural Assets Fund cases and assist in the prioritisation of applications.