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Funding, support and advice for war memorials in the UK 

War Memorials Trust
War Memorials Trust (WMT) works for the protection and conservation of war memorials within the UK to ensure they remain part of our communities forever. It seeks to cooperate with other organisations, at both national and local level, to better safeguard the future of war memorials in both their social and historical context. War Memorials Trust is an independent registered charity and as such is dependent on voluntary income.

War Memorials Trust administers grant schemes which cover the whole of the UK. Grants are for conservation and repair of war memorials and all grant schemes are open to anyone to apply; individuals or organisations, including councils. Information on grants, eligibility and how to apply are available on the WMT website. The starting point for all schemes is the ‘Grants pre-application form’ which enables the charity to assess if a project is eligible and send out the correct application forms. It is important to note that the Trust cannot provide funding retrospectively under any circumstances.

From April 2013 schemes administered by the charity include:

  • Grant for War Memorials, funded by English Heritage and The Wolfson Foundation, which supports freestanding memorials in England. In 2013/14 and 2014/15 the scheme will have an annual budget of £200,000 offering grants at up to 75% eligible costs up to a maximum £30,000. English Heritage and War Memorials Trust started collaborating on a grant programme for war memorials in 2000 and since then over £800,000 has been distributed to over 250 projects. 
  • The Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund, funded by the Scottish Government (Historic Scotland), has a budget of £1million to support all types of Scottish war memorials. It opened in April 2013 with grants available at up to 75% eligible costs with a maximum grant of £30,000. 
  • WMT’s Small Grants Scheme covers all war memorials of all types and dates anywhere in the UK. Grants are available at up to 50% eligible costs with a usual maximum grant of £2,500 although occasional larger special grants can be made particularly to projects ineligible for larger grants from other schemes. Since this scheme launched in 1998 over 800 projects have been shared offers totalling more than £600,000. Grants have started from £50 with an average offer in 2012 worth £1,206.

WMT also directs people to others sources of funding in their area or more appropriate to their project including Cadw, HLF and others.

Alongside its grant-making, the Trust has a dedicated Conservation Team that can provide free advice on any memorial issue or technical conservation enquiry. This service is available to anyone with a memorial enquiry. The Conservation Team can also advise on maintenance works and how to prevent theft. The Trust’s website has extensive information on conservation and repair and helpsheets on most general and technical memorial issues.

In Memoriam 2014
War Memorials Trust is working in partnership with the SmartWater Foundation on a project called In Memoriam 2014 which will provide greater protection for war memorials in the United Kingdom.

The project will work to locate, log and protect thousands of war memorials across the United Kingdom using cutting edge forensic technology. In Memoriam 2014 is supported by the Royal British Legion and the Cadet Forces. As the name suggests this project is using the forthcoming centenary of the First World War as a focus for this initiative to help communities preserve their war memorial heritage. In Memoriam 2014 will protect memorials at risk of theft or damage by marking them with SmartWater.

In Memoriam 2014 is open to the whole of the United Kingdom. This includes England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Crown Territories of Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Applications for SmartWater can be made on the In Memoriam website.

Historic Scotland
The Scottish Government through Historic Scotland launched the Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund in January 2013 which has made available £1m through the period 2013-2018 to restore all types of war memorials in Scotland. Grants are available of up to 75% of eligible costs with a maximum grant of £30,000. The scheme is administered in Scotland by the War Memorials Trust (see above).

Repairs to war memorials may also be eligible for funding under Historic Scotland’s grant schemes for Historic Building Repair and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, through which individual grants of between £10,000 and £500,000 are available.

English Heritage
English Heritage (EH) provides grants for the repair and conservation of freestanding war memorials in England through the scheme jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and run in partnership with War Memorials Trust (see above). Grants for up to £30,000 are available for repair and conservation, cleaning and work to improve the legibility of inscriptions, along with professional fees and VAT. The scheme will have £200,000 available for each year to 2015.

In addition to providing half of the funding for the grants under this scheme, EH grant-aids part of the staff and overhead costs for War Memorials Trust’s conservation programme, which includes the Trust’s advisory service and the management of the grant scheme.

Since launching the heritage crime initiative in 2011, EH has been working with the police, Crown Prosecution Service and local authorities to better understand the nature of the metal theft problem and devise better strategies to reduce the threat to war memorials.

EH provides guidance, available on its website, on how to maintain war memorials and how to prevent theft.

Cadw operates a number of grant schemes which can help with the restoration of war memorials. Grants can be awarded from its Historic Buildings Grants programme of up to 30% of the total cost of the repair and restoration of a memorial, if it is judged to be of outstanding architectural or historic importance. Some works to memorials may also be eligible under Cadw’s Civic Initiative (Heritage) Grant Scheme through which grants of up to £5,000 (which must be match-funded by the voluntary organisation) can be awarded to projects that seek to preserve, enhance or improve the historic environment of Wales and increase social awareness of Welsh heritage.

Northern Ireland Environment Agency
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is responsible for recording and protecting Northern Ireland's built heritage and has identified and listed over 8,400 structures as being of 'special architectural or historic interest'. This includes 25 war memorials located throughout Northern Ireland, and often sited in prominent locations in towns and cities. Most memorials are within local Council ownership, with the exception of the memorial owned by Queen's University located in front of its landmark 'Lanyon' building.

In addition to recording these structures, NIEA currently provides grant-aid of 45% up to a maximum grant of £500,000, for maintenance and repair costs of original fabric for most listed structures and advice for such works through a team of conservation architects. In 2007, over £12,000 was made available by NIEA for the repair of the County Antrim War Memorial in Carrickfergus. 

Memorials Grant Scheme
This scheme is run by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for the whole of the UK. Since March 2005 charities and faith groups have been able to claim as a grant the equivalent of the VAT paid on the eligible costs of erecting, maintaining or repairing public memorials. The scheme has an annual fixed budget of £0.5million and will continue until 2014/15. Since the start of the scheme, over £1.8m has been given out to support public memorials across the UK. 

Heritage Lottery Fund
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) provides support for war memorials as part of its Our Heritage, Sharing Heritage and Heritage Grants programmes, offering awards from £3,000 to £5million plus. It can support projects across the UK that enable people to conserve and learn about their heritage, including war memorials. It recently launched a campaign to encourage people to mark the centenary of the First World War and expects to fund more projects involving war memorials as a result of this initiative which actively welcomes applications for all kinds of heritage projects, large and small.

HLF can also support war memorials where they are located in public parks, as part of its Parks for People funding stream.

In May this year, HLF launched a new small grants programme: First World War: then and now. This programme makes at least £1million per year available for six years until 2019, and enables communities to explore, conserve and share their First World War heritage.

Funds for Historic Buildings
There are many other grant schemes available for the conservation and improved presentation of historic buildings across the UK. The Funds for Historic Buildings (FFHB) website contains details of nearly 200 such grant schemes, some of which will be a potential source of funding for repairs to war memorials.

Heritage Funding Directory
The Heritage Alliance, an umbrella organisation of 90 non-government heritage bodies (including the National Trust, War Memorials Trust and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) hosts a directory (the Heritage Funding Directory) of nearly 200 organisations that can provide grants and/or advice for anyone seeking to undertake heritage projects in the UK.

Public Monuments and Sculpture Association
The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA) aims to heighten public appreciation of Britain's public sculpture, and to contribute to its preservation, protection and promotion. It seeks to achieve this through several projects that include the National Recording Project, the Sculpture Journal, Save our Sculpture (SoS) and the Marsh Award for Public Sculpture.
Using data gathered by the National Recording Project and through other sources, Save our Sculpture identifies sculptures at risk, records them on the SoS At Risk Register and alerts local authorities, private owners, campaign groups and the general public to the urgent need for action. SoS aims to help those who care about their local sculptures and monuments to do something about their maintenance and preservation - to press for change and make it happen.