Frequently asked questions

Volunteers research First World War archives
Here we provide answers to questions we are often asked about our funding for First World War Centenary projects.

​Can our application include costs for travel and activity outside the UK?

Yes, if your project is based in the UK.

We will fund the cost of travel and activity outside the UK (including the cost of bringing people to the UK) if there is a clear rationale for it in the project, it contributes to outcomes for heritage, people and communities in the UK and offers value for money.

What costs can you cover outside the UK?

We can consider any costs that are associated with your project activities. This could include travel, accommodation, insurance, or activities in museums or heritage sites involving people from the UK.

We ask that you explore how you can make the cost of your activity abroad as reasonable as possible. For example, you could send a small group of people to explore the heritage on a research trip who could then come and feed back to the rest of the group. Or you could pay to bring people to the UK to share their expertise and insights. In order to fund travel and activities abroad, you will need to demonstrate that there is a genuine need for the funding, and that the additional outcomes achieved are in proportion to the funding requested.

Some questions we might ask are:

  • To what extent does the travel outside the UK enhance people’s understanding and learning, or broaden their perspectives of the war?
  • Could this level of understanding be achieved in a lower-cost way?
  • Will the travel and activity abroad enhance the long-term outcomes of the project? For example, will it result in long-term relationships which will result in new understandings of the war and its impacts?
  • Are you contributing any partnership funding?

Can we get a grant to take a group to visit the former battlefields and cemeteries in Europe?

We recognise the value of visiting a site, and that this can deepen people's understanding of the war and its impacts. You should show that a visit is linked to activities in the UK, and that it will enhance people’s experience and learning. The visit should not be the main focus of a project. If the main activity and cost in your project involves a visit abroad, then the project is unlikely to offer good value for money.

Can HLF provide funding for projects outside the UK?

No – we only invest in projects based in the UK.

Can HLF support work to conserve war memorials?

Yes. War memorials provide a very useful starting point for people who want to learn about their war-time heritage, and conservation helps to secure them for the future. As well as ensuring that heritage is in better condition (one of our outcomes for heritage), a project to conserve a memorial should also achieve outcomes for people.

If my organisation wants to do work to conserve a war memorial, do we have to own it?

No, but the owner must agree to the proposed works. The best way of achieving this is to work in partnership with the owner and for them to be a partner to your application. You will also need to consider how you will maintain the memorial after the repair work is done, what costs might be involved, and who will be responsible for doing the work.

Can HLF fund new memorials, including new war memorials?

HLF can fund the creation of new memorials as long as the project contributes to the outcomes for the programme to which you are applying. The projects also needs to be good quality and offer value for money overall.

To achieve our outcomes and to be value for money, proposals for new memorials are likely to be part of a wider project which helps people gain greater understanding of the past. This is generally through a programme of related educational and/or community activities. For example, local people, schoolchildren or those associated with the memorial could research the history of the event or conflict being commemorated and the stories of the people involved. They could share what they find out with a wider audience through an exhibition, an audio tour or online.

The majority of the project budget should be spent on the activities, not the creation of the memorial itself.

Can we supply and sow poppy seeds as part of our First World War project?

You can include some costs for buying poppy seeds in your application. However, if the main focus or a substantial element of a project is to supply and/or sow poppy seeds then it is unlikely to achieve HLF’s outcomes. Poppy-seed sowing could be one in a series of activities in your project which enable people to explore and learn about an area of First World War heritage.

In your application, you will need to show how supplying and/or sowing poppy seed will help you achieve our outcomes. Think about how you might use the poppies as a way of engaging a wide range of people in your project, and how they could explore the heritage of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance. Planting and sowing poppies also provides an opportunity for people to learn about natural heritage.

Here are some things to consider when supplying or sowing poppy seeds:

  • When deciding where to sow poppy seeds, consider whether existing habitats will be affected or harmed. For example, are you disturbing an existing habitat which is already a home to wildlife, or introducing a new species and competition into an area already populated by native wildflowers?
  • You will need to get the agreement of the land owner before you disturb any land or sow poppy seeds
  • Poppy seeds should not be sown on or near agricultural land, designated nature conservation sites, ancient woodlands or on any areas with important existing native wildflowers
  • Ensure your poppy seed is either collected from existing local poppies or obtained from a supplier who can certify that it is from a UK native source

Can HLF pay for us to produce a book/film/TV programme/education pack about the history of the First World War? 

Yes, if it will record the research done as part of the project you are asking us to fund. If the main focus of your project is to produce a record of research that has already been done, or that is going to be done by a small group of experts, then it is unlikely that your project will achieve HLF’s outcomes (see The difference we want your project to make).

In order to achieve HLF’s outcomes, you will also need to show that your project includes activities which engage people with the heritage, in addition to creating a resource. This could involve recruiting people as research volunteers, putting on learning workshops, engaging people with collections in archives or museums, involving people in the process of creating the book/film/TV programme/education pack, or putting on activities which will help people engage with it once it is created.

It is acceptable to charge a modest price for a booklet or another type of printed resource that your project produces, as long as the money is reinvested in heritage. You should give free copies to a relevant public library. If you are creating digital resources eg a website or smartphone app, these must be made available to the public free of charge. See HLF’s guidance on using digital technology in heritage projects.

Can HLF provide grants for events or concerts which will raise funds for military charities?

Raising funds for charities does not achieve HLF outcomes, so if this is the main focus of your project, then it is unlikely to be funded by HLF.

If you are planning events and activities which explore an area of First World War heritage, and you think this will provide opportunities to fundraise, then this is acceptable.

It is important to HLF that events and activities are accessible to everyone, so any fundraising should be by donation only.

Can HLF provide grants for the costs of hiring a re-enactment company to take part in an event?

Yes, although if this is the main focus of your project then it is unlikely to achieve HLF outcomes.

A re-enactment should be one in a series of activities that help people explore an area of First World War heritage. Think about how the re-enactment will complement other activities in your project. For example, will it be a chance for people in your project to put what they’ve learned about the war into context? How will this happen on the day?

Can HLF provide grants for the costs of remembrance services and other commemorative activities such as ceremonies or parades?

HLF supports projects which provide opportunities for people to explore and learn about an area of First World War heritage. Heritage projects can offer moments for reflection and we can fund these as part of a wider programme of activities.

Projects which focus primarily on a ceremony, parade or service are unlikely to achieve HLF’s outcomes.

Can HLF pay for us to build a replica trench?

Yes, but if this is the only thing you are doing in your project then it is unlikely to achieve HLF’s outcomes.

Think about how people will be involved in researching, designing and drawing up plans for the trench, and how they can engage with it once it is there. How will the series of activities that you put on help people learn about a particular aspect of First World War heritage?

Can HLF pay for us to put on an artistic performance (play/concert/musical) relating to the First World War?

HLF can fund projects which involve people in developing a performance through research trips, museum/archive workshops, talks with historians or other activities which enable them to explore the heritage of the First World War. If your project focuses on the musical heritage of the First World War, the end result might be a concert, where the audience can also learn about the music through an exhibition or talk. Your project will need to include heritage activities, and provide opportunities for people to engage with heritage material.

If the main focus of your project is putting on a play or musical that has already been written, it is unlikely to achieve HLF’s outcomes.

If the main activity in your project is an artistic performance, it may be better suited to arts funding. If your project includes both arts and heritage activities, then you may wish to use some arts funding as partnership funding in your application to HLF.

Can we do a project which explores the First World War and the Second World War?

You may wish to explore a theme by looking at both world wars, such as the effects of the wars on a particular place, changes in people’s attitudes or experiences during the period, or other developments. If you are not a heritage organisation, you may wish to consider working with a heritage professional in a museum, archive or history group to help maintain clarity about the difference between the two wars.

If you are applying under Sharing Heritage, Our Heritage, or Young Roots, there is no requirement for your project to focus in particular on the First World War. If you are applying under First World War: then and now, the balance of activities and outputs should be weighted towards understanding and sharing knowledge of an area of First World War heritage.

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