The lighthouse and the sea at Orford Ness

Building financial resilience: HLF provides new boost for heritage organisations 


This week the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is launching Catalyst heritage: building fundraising capacity grants. 

A new £2million investment programme, it is designed to help organisations or partnerships of heritage organisations build their fundraising capacity and encourage more private giving.

Grants of £3,000 to £10,000 are now available for all kinds of heritage groups across the UK to maximise their ability to secure private investment in a range of forms - from attracting corporate sponsorship and legacy funding to benefitting from in-kind donations such as new volunteer hours.

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “Heritage groups across the UK told us they needed the flexibility to address their own particular challenges in diversifying their funding base. The new Catalyst small grants programme will offer individual organisations or partnerships the chance to tailor how they strengthen their skills to gain a wider variety of funding sources - from corporate sponsorship to the donation of volunteering hours - and face the future with greater confidence."

Kate Pugh, Chief Executive of the Heritage Alliance, said: “For smaller heritage groups fundraising can be particularly daunting, not least because the emphasis seems to have shifted towards private donations, sponsorship and community investment with new techniques and technologies.  By offering a means of adapting to this brave new world, the Heritage Lottery Fund is helping create a more secure and resilient sector.”

During autumn 2012, HLF consulted over 300 heritage groups - ranging from those representing the historic built environment and museums through to biodiversity and natural heritage – in order to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing these organisations when securing funding from private individuals, corporate businesses and trusts. Findings from this research have helped to shape all the Catalyst grants initiatives and may be helpful to applicants when thinking about their projects.

There are two opportunities to apply for a Catalyst small grant with closing dates of 19 April 2013 and 16 August 2013.

Catalyst heritage: building fundraising capacity grants is part of the wider Catalyst programme, a £100million+ investment partnership between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Arts Council England (ACE) and HLF designed to enable arts and heritage organisations to develop and explore innovative new approaches to securing private giving.

Notes to editors

Catalyst: The first round of Catalyst Endowments was announced by Jeremy Hunt, the former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport at the Victoria and Albert Museum in June 2012.

  • ACE awarded a total of £30.5million to 18 organisations
  • HLF awarded £27.5million to support 18 organisations

More detail can be found at the DCMS Catalyst Endowments press release.

As part of that earlier announcement, the former Culture Minister unveiled details of the overarching £100million Catalyst fund to be invested through:

  • Catalyst: Endowments: a £55 million scheme jointly funded by Department for Culture Media and Sport, Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • Catalyst Arts: a £30 million Arts Council capacity building and match funding scheme
  • Catalyst Arts and Catalyst Heritage fundraising capacity building programme:  a £7 million Arts Council fundraising capacity building small grant scheme; and a £5 million HLF investment in capacity building, including a small grant scheme
  • The Arts Council will also invest £3 million in a programme of learning and knowledge sharing.

On 29 October, ACE announced its Catalyst capacity building programme and its £3million programme of leaning and knowledge sharing.  More detail can be found at the Arts Council Catalyst Capacity Building website.

In November 2012, HLF launched its second round of the Catalyst: Endowments programme, offering grants between £500,000 and £1million The deadline to register has now passed and decisions will be made in summer 2013.

In December 2012, HLF launched its Catalyst Heritage: building fundraising capacity umbrella grant. The deadline to register to apply has now passed and first decisions will be made in summer 2013.

Further information

Heritage Lottery Fund: Natasha Ley on 0207 591 6143, email:


Catalyst programme logo 
Catalyst programme logo