COVID-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Response Fund

The COVID-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Response Fund has awarded grants of up to £25,000 (plus irrecoverable VAT) to help fund urgent maintenance, repairs and surveys at some of England’s locally-cherished historic buildings and sites.

We launched a call out for expressions of interest (EOI) on 9 June 2020 and the fund, with an initial budget of up to £3 million, was heavily oversubscribed.

This fund was subsequently expanded as part of the Heritage Stimulus Fund under the government’s Culture Recovery Fund to award funding for all eligible applicants. All funding available through this scheme has been awarded and the scheme is now closed for applications.

We are pleased to have been able to fund over 500 projects through this scheme. See our page about Culture Recovery Fund Recipients for details of grants awarded.

The work funded will help heritage sites reopen to the public and thrive once again as quickly as possible – subject to COVID-19 restrictions. The business generated will help heritage specialists who, we know from our research, have been severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Your questions about Historic England's support for the heritage sector during COVID-19

Following the interest in our Emergency Response Fund, we have been working with the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) to make further funds available to our applicants. This additional funding of up to £11 million is one stream of the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

This is the second emergency fund from Historic England in response to COVID-19 and comes soon after a £1.8 million fund that is supporting 70 organisations to weather the crisis and aid recovery. Both funds are designed to complement the measures already put in place by the government, as well as the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s £50 million emergency fund announced on 1 April 2020

Our aim is to extend the safety net as far as we can and help heritage organisations both survive the immediate challenges and prepare for recovery. We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the resilience of those organisations that care for our heritage and will keep our response constantly under review, to ensure we can react and respond as effectively as possible as the situation evolves and to make certain that no part of the sector is forgotten.

We have awarded £1.8 million in grants from our first COVID-19 emergency response fund for 70 projects to help tackle the impact of coronavirus on the heritage sector.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund also announced an Emergency Heritage Fund of £50 million in April 2020, which was available for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000. It was available to organisations across the full breadth of heritage, including historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens, landscapes and nature who have received previous Lottery funding.

We are collaborating with a number of heritage organisations to understand the impact of the current situation on the heritage sector.

To help inform this work, we launched a survey aimed at understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the businesses and skills that underpin the heritage sector. We had over 800 responses, 70% of which were from small businesses that are the engine of England’s heritage industry.

Whilst the impact of coronavirus has been serious, government support schemes are providing assistance and 90% of businesses felt able to keep going in the short term. Craft workers and professionals such as architects, engineers and surveyors appear to be most vulnerable with more than four out of 10 concerned for their businesses and in need of additional support. The results also show that 77% of respondents reported lost business in the short term.

The survey has made it very clear that we need to direct as much financial support as we can to support these small heritage businesses, especially those involved in specialist crafts and professional services, through this challenging period.

The information we’ve gathered complements the recent survey undertaken by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and will help to provide a comprehensive picture of the situation across the whole sector.

We are collaborating with a number of heritage organisations to understand the impact of the current situation on the heritage sector.

To help inform this work, we launched a survey aimed at understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the businesses and skills that underpin the heritage sector. We have had over 800 responses, 70% of which were from small businesses that are the engine of England’s heritage industry.

Whilst the impact of coronavirus has been serious, government support schemes are providing assistance and 90% of businesses felt able to keep going in the short term. Craft workers and professionals such as architects, engineers and surveyors appear to be most vulnerable, with more than four out of 10 concerned for their businesses and in need of additional support. The results also show that 77% of respondents reported lost business in the short term.

These results will be shared across the heritage sector, and we are using them to shape the government’s and our own response to protecting and championing the heritage sector during this difficult time.

Q&A for grant recipients

Unless otherwise agreed with Historic England, you must provide 28 days public access a year at reasonable times. This is in addition to private appointments and school visits. For places of worship, this can include those days on which formal worship occurs, but we would expect the property to remain open for the full day. A day constitutes six hours. Altogether, this is a requirement of 168 hours public access minimum, which you may spread over more days for fewer hours.

A notice of the opening arrangements for public access must be provided on site in a visible location. Confirmation of opening dates, times and arrangements for public access to the site must be provided to Historic England if requested. These details may be published by Historic England on its website and in commercial directories.

These conditions will cease to be binding after the Enforcement Period (six years from the final grant payment).

The COVID-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Response Fund is closed to new applications.

Works identified through project development or surveys that are not already being funded under this scheme will need to be funded from elsewhere.

Find other potential sources of funding

You can only use your grant for the works agreed with us during assessment of your application and recorded in your offer letter and grant contract. The COVID-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Response Fund is closed to new applications.

COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing guidelines meant that we were unable to conduct inspections in person during the assessment of applications. Before/after photography and a completion certificate will be used as evidence of satisfactory completion of grant-aided works in the majority of cases, however, HE staff will visit a sample of sites during the six-year Enforcement Period.

As recorded in our grant contract with you, our representatives have a right of access to enter the site at any reasonable time on reasonable notice provided to you, to:

  • make interim inspections of progress
  • make a final inspection of the site on completion to establish whether all the terms and conditions of the Grant have been complied with
  • and to make post-repair monitoring visits.

This agreement remains in place over the Enforcement Period. Reasonable notice will be provided if such a visit is deemed necessary.

We encourage you to share the news of your project and our funding with the public whenever you can, both during your project and afterwards, to celebrate what you have achieved.

Use the Culture Recovery Fund tools and resources for communicating your grant.

Find more support for acknowledging your grant, including contact details for your regional Public Engagement Manager who can provide further guidance.

A certificate of practical completion is a formal document provided by your lead advisor confirming that the works have been completed.

In the case of specialist conservation work carried out by a conservator who has conservation accreditation from ICON or other recognised body, or who has suitable experience, where no additional lead advisor was requested, we don’t expect a certificate of practical completion, but the specialist conservation expert must document the work process and completed work. They must also provide you with an appropriate warranty.

For audit and assurance purposes we need you to submit a formal certificate of practical completion signed by your lead advisor (unless the works included only specialised conservation work which was completed by a conservator; see previous question and answer).

Yes, we need copies of all invoices that form part of the total project costs. This includes architect fees even if they are being paid from your contribution.

Yes, retention fees should be included in the final total eligible costs as you will have to pay this after the retention (defects) period has ended and the cost was incurred for the grant-eligible works.

You can use your own template as long as the before and after photos for each area of work are displayed side by side, the date the photo was taken is stated and a description is provided for each.

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