A £92m fund to support heritage charities and organisations during the Covid-19 crisis has opened for applications on Wednesday.
The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage is part of the £1.5bn support package for the culture sector announced by the government earlier this month.
The funds will be distributed by by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England, and are available to a range of organisations, including those caring for visitor attractions and heritage collections, as well as private owners of heritage sites and businesses that are part of the sector, such as suppliers and conservators.
Available grants range between £10,000 and £3m. Applicants will need to have “an innovative plan for how they will operate and be sustainable for the remainder of this financial year”, as well demonstrate their significance and the role they play in their community.
Applications will close on 17 August and grants will be awarded in late September.
Covid-19 has hit the heritage sector hard
Heritage organisations have been forced to close their buildings and sites during lockdown, losing millions in income from tickets and related activities.
The National Trust, which looks after more than 500 historic places including houses, castles, parks, and gardens, on Wednesday announced plans to make up to 1,200 staff redundant as it faces a £200m loss in income this year.
Historic England said that the heritage sector is worth £31bn and 500,000 jobs to England’s economy, and that this funding from the government will be a “lifeline”.
Sir Laurie Magnus, chairman of Historic England, said: “The effect of Covid-19 on our heritage has been wide-reaching. The historic places that help define us are at risk of being lost forever.
“This crucial funding will help the organisations and businesses who look after our locally-cherished historic sites. It is a recognition that investing directly in historic places can bring wide ranging social benefits, inspiring communities to engage with their past and encouraging creativity, regeneration and growth.”
Ros Kerslake, chief executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “For many heritage organisations, this funding will be the lifeline they have been waiting for and I urge them to apply as soon as possible.
“As the lockdown has lifted, and the public begin to return to some of our much-loved places, the true value of our heritage is more obvious than ever. It is vital in creating economic prosperity, in making local communities better places to live, and in supporting our own personal sense of wellbeing.”