Supporting the Heritage Sector to Manage the Impact of Coronavirus

We’re continuing to work with other sector organisations to share information and expertise, and to understand the ongoing impact of the pandemic across the sector.

Work is currently focused on several key areas, including:

Heritage Sector Response Group

This group of national heritage organisations has come together to assess the impact on heritage, to share information and to co-ordinate support and action.

The attendees are drawn from across the national Historic Environment Forum and include, amongst others:

  • Historic England
  • Historic Houses
  • National Lottery Heritage Fund
  • National Trust
  • The Heritage Alliance

The group is at present focussing on immediate responses but will refocus on longer term considerations as soon as possible.

Working with the Government

We are in regular contact with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) about long-term planning.

Assessing the impact on heritage

We are working closely with the heritage sector to collate comprehensive and consistent information on the impact of Coronavirus. We need to make sure that we have reliable data and evidence on how all parts of the sector have been affected, so that we can respond quickly and effectively.

As well as the considerable impact on tourist sites, we will collect data on the impact on small businesses, craft skills specialists and heritage crime so that we can best plan for the recovery phase.

If you would like to contribute ideas on the data that should be collected or send us evidence of how you have been impacted, please email [email protected]

Other support

The Heritage Alliance is providing advice and information for its members and all those heritage organisations affected by the virus. The Heritage Alliance is the umbrella body that unites over 150 independent heritage organisations in England. Their information is regularly updated so do keep an eye on it.

Our guidance on managing heritage locations safely will help you find guidance and think through considerations for working at historic sites, including retail and visitor attractions.

Support for organisations active in the heritage sector

If you run a business based in or on a historic building we have specific advice on how to look after and make changes to it.

Our grant assistance to owners of historic commercial buildings is focused through our Heritage Action Zone programme. Unfortunately, we cannot offer grants to support local businesses outside that scheme but there are a number of other external sources that may be able to help.

Our summary of Government support for businesses

We outline updates to the planning response to the pandemic in our monthly Planning Bulletin. However, given the fast-moving nature of responses to the pandemic we would recommend checking websites including, the Local Government Association and the Planning Advisory Service.

Other grants and funding

Many other organisations in the sector provide targeted grants and support for particular types of heritage or organisation.

The Heritage Alliance Funding Hub may also be a useful source of information.

Our other advice pages cover:

National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund website is constantly updated with more information on their grants, including building capacity and resilience.

National Heritage Memorial Fund

The National Heritage Memorial Fund is running a COVID-19 Response Fund. This offers support to projects involving any heritage asset which is of outstanding importance to the national heritage and which is at risk due to the impact of coronavirus. The scheme is open until April 2023.

Grants for buildings, monuments or collections

  • Pilgrim Trust: runs a grant programme for conservation projects for buildings, monuments and collections

Historic Places of Worship

  • Benefact Trust: provides grants, along with resources and advice online
  • ChurchCare grants: ChurchCare is the Church of England’s national resource to support its parishes, dioceses and cathedrals
  • National Churches Trust: The Trust continues to operate its grant schemes for repair and maintenance

Maritime heritage