Changes to our grant making

In early 2019 the Heritage Lottery Fund will begin a new, five-year Strategic Funding Framework that sets out how we will distribute National Lottery good causes money to the heritage sector.

In addition, the UK Government has recently published its Tailored Review of our performance and the Mendoza Review of Museums in England.  Both of these recommend new ways of working, including simplifying our grant giving processes and operating even more efficiently, getting the most value from National Lottery funding.

As we plan these changes, and adapt to a reduction in our National Lottery income, our Board has agreed that the financial year 2018/19 – when we expect to distribute a substantial budget of c£190million - should be a transitional year, with some changes to our grant making.  This will help us rebase ourselves to ensure that income, commitments and resources are aligned.

We are also taking the opportunity to simplify the complexity of our grant programmes ahead of the new Strategic Funding Framework.

The following changes to our grant-making will take immediate effect (and run until our new funding framework opens in Jan 2019):

  • There will be no new rounds of targeted programmes (ie Landscape Partnerships, Parks for People or Townscape Heritage) in 2018
  • We will still be funding landscapes, parks and historic town centres in 2018, accepting grant applications via our open programmes, including Our Heritage and Heritage Grants
  • We will fund Heritage Grants over £5m (major grants) in 2018, with decisions planned in April 2018 as usual (based on applications already submitted)
  • We will not fund new ‘major grants’ (Heritage Grants over £5m) in 2019, so there will be no application deadline in 2018
  • During the final quarter of the financial year - January to March 2019 - we will only be making Round Two awards; and Round One grants of up to £100,000. This will give time to prepare applications under the new Strategic Funding Framework arrangements

We are also planning new strategic funding to support innovation and new ways of working. We expect these initiatives to include a strong focus on urban parks and landscapes, with further details to follow in the Spring.
Applications under our new Framework will be open from January 2019.

The last application deadlines for our 2018/19 grant programmes (under existing framework) are:

  • Parks for People, Landscape Partnerships and Heritage Grants Major Batch (>£5m)
    No deadline, we are no longer accepting applications under these programmes.  Please apply under open programmes for grants up to £5m.
  • Townscape Heritage
    8 December 2017
  • Heritage Grants (up to £5m) and Heritage Enterprise
    16 August 2018
  • Resilient Heritage (£3,000 -£10,000 and £100,000-£250,000)
    18 January 2019
  • Sharing Heritage, Our Heritage, First World War: then and now and Young Roots
    18 January 2019

Visit the Application deadlines and funding decisions page for upcoming deadlines.

As well as reducing the complexity of our funding offer, this transition period will allow us to manage a lower budget, which we anticipate being in the region of £190m, in light of reduced National Lottery income and the need to align our grant commitments with reserves. With continued strong demand for our funding, we will be looking for best quality and applicants should expect competition for grants at every stage of the grant application process. We are optimistic that Camelot’s recent strategic review, which includes many far reaching proposals – will ensure the National Lottery is in good health for many years to come.

UK-wide funding

Despite financial pressures, we want to support a broad range of heritage across the whole of the UK.

To help achieve this, we will increase the proportion of our budget that goes to smaller grants, which are awarded by locally based teams and committees. We envisage that around 80 per cent of our awards will continue to be decided locally. 

Whilst National Lottery income is lower we have developed a sensible balance that protects our existing investment as well providing the opportunity for fresh investment to come on stream in the next few years.


Why will you be distributing less money next year?

A range of factors influence our plans, including a reduction in National Lottery receipts after some historically high years, and following a planned period of reducing our reserves, by awarding more in grants than we received in income.  We now need to align grant commitments with income and reserves, to deliver awards we have committed to, while continuing to make new ones.

How much money will you be distributing next year?

We anticipate the budget being around £190m – with most deployed in the first 9 months ahead of focusing on smaller grants only, in the final transition quarter.  However, this is subject to our business plan, published in the Spring, and any fluctuations in National Lottery income.

Are these changes permanent?

We haven’t taken any decisions beyond 2019 and are in the process of consulting on our longer-term plans.

What does this mean for places of worship?

When we took the decision to mainstream POW funding into our open programmes earlier this year we agreed to maintain a targeted spend on POW projects.  This means allocating at least £20m in 2017-18 and the same proportion of HLF’s overall grants budget in 2018-19 - likely to be in the region of £13.5m.

Can I still apply for one of your targeted programmes?

The deadline for applications to our Townscape Heritage programme is 8 December, for decisions in May 2018. We will not be accepting new applications under our Parks for People or Landscape Partnerships programmes. Applicants with projects of this type will be able to apply through our open programmes (Our Heritage/Heritage Grants).

I have started an application for Townscape Heritage (for submission after 8/12/17) Landscape Partnerships, Parks for People - what should I do?

You will still be able to seek funding for landscape-scale conservation, public parks and historic townscapes, but you will need to complete a Heritage Grants application form, which is available on our website.  Please contact your local office for advice.

The programme under which I’m completing a Round Two application has been removed from your website – what should I do?

You will be able to access specific programme guidance through the online portal. Further information and FAQs are also available by visiting our Online Community

I have been awarded development money and I am working towards a full second round grant application.  Does this affect me?

It might do.  Your grant award letter and contract will have made clear that round two funding is not guaranteed. All our grant decisions are dependent on the quality of proposals and the available National Lottery income.  We expect a greater level of competition for both first and second rounds during the next financial year. Otherwise, the process for applying at round two, has not changed, including for Major Batch awards over £5m.

What factors will you take into consideration when deciding on funding awards?

We will consider the quality of proposals and the business case for National Lottery money, project outcomes, value for money, financial and other risks, and sustainability. Also, strategic fit with organisations’ objectives, local need and the ‘why now?’ question.  All grants are subject to the availability of funding and as you might expect we will be carrying out robust reviews at every stage of the process.

Who will be deciding on grants over £2m?

The level of grant awarded by our regional committees will be capped at £1m rather than the current £2m (which does not affect the application process) and will take effect from 1 April 2018.

If you are stopping your targeted programmes, does this mean you will no longer be funding natural heritage, parks and historic townscapes?

Absolutely not.  We remain very keen to receive applications for natural heritage, parks and historic townscapes through our open programmes.

We are planning new strategic funding to support innovation and new ways of working and for example, are looking at how we might support public parks in future.

Does this mean that you will no longer be running targeted programmes when you launch your new funding framework?

Not necessarily, although we are committed to simplifying our offer and processes to make things easier for applicants.  We have consulted the public and stakeholders and will be reporting in the near future.

Is the 16 August 2018 final deadline for Heritage Grant applications for first-round application only?

Yes, this final deadline is for first-round applications only.  There is no change for second-round applications.  You can decide how long you need to develop your second-round proposals.  You may take up to 24 months, depending on the complexity of your project.

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