New innovation fund for places of worship

The Beachamp Chapel - Collegiate Church of St Mary
We’ve launched a new strategic partnership to help secure the future of places of worship

Places of Worship: Inspiring Ideas opens today. It’s a new strategic funding initiative that welcomes applications from projects looking to explore innovative ideas and test new approaches to managing, caring for, and funding historic places of worship, of all faiths and denominations.

The aim of the fund is to help make our precious historic places of worship financially resilient, so they are safeguarded for future generations.

What are we looking to fund?

Successful projects could focus on single places of worship or partnerships working together to explore and trial innovative ideas. Projects could be linked geographically, thematically or by the challenges faced.

Example activities that could be supported include:

  • investigating and trialling new approaches to fundraising, trading or other income generating activities;
  • activities that explore new models of managing the building and engaging with the wider community;
  • building capacity across a group of congregations by identifying and delivering training for staff, volunteers and trustees; or
  • investigating new ways of sharing learning and resources across a number of faith sites or brokering new partnerships

Who is in the partnership?

“Building financial resilience is vital to the future of all heritage” Ros Kerslake, HLF CEO

The project is a partnership between HLF, the Pilgrim Trust, the Plunkett Foundation and the National Churches Trust. Total funding available will be at least £1million.

How much can I apply for?

Grants will be delivered through HLF’s existing Resilient Heritage programme and applicants can apply for a grant of between £10,000 and £250,000 and all projects must be delivered in a single stage.

Why are we launching this initiative?

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF, trialed Places of Worship: Inspiring Ideas at the National Churches Trust Conference Building Resilience, in June.

It joins a number of new targeted initiatives designed to help heritage organisations and those responsible for heritage to build financial resilience and future sustainability including Rethinking Parks and Resilient Heritage.   

Commenting on the ambitions for the initiative, Ros, said: “Building financial resilience is vital to the future of all heritage organisations. Places of Worship: Inspiring Ideas is the latest in a series of strategic HLF initiatives designed to empower local people to work together to explore new ways of securing the heritage that matters to them.

“Places of worship have a particular set of challenges but sharing ideas and inspiring others, will give congregations the tools needed to build a sustainable future.”

Taylor Review on the Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals

Places of Worship: Inspiring Ideas is complementing pilot projects now being rolled out with financial support from the Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) as a result of the Taylor Review on the Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals.  HLF and DCMS will work together to make sure that the lessons from both initiatives are used to support places of worship work towards a more sustainable future.

Update 11 September 2018:

More information about the initiative is available in the Places of Worship: Inspiring Ideas supplementary guidance which can be found as an attachment below.

Once you’ve read this guidance and you think your project might be suitable for funding, you will need to complete the expression of interest form (also found below), and send it to inspiring-ideas@hlf.org.uk. You can also email us if you would like to discuss your idea before submitting an expression of interest.

Expressions of interest must be submitted by 14 October 2018.

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