Coronavirus puts 80% of heritage sites at risk

Castle galloway

A new £50m emergency fund has been created to support attractions across the UK

2nd April 2020 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

Emergency funding to support heritage sites through the coronavirus crisis has been announced.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is making £50m available in response to the significant impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on the UK’s heritage.

The new Heritage Emergency Fund will address immediate pressures over the next three to six months for those most in need alongside increased investment in essential digital skills across the sector, providing expertise in critical areas such as digital fundraising, use of social media and communications, and running online events and activities. 

In addition, the National Lottery Heritage Fund is continuing to support 2,500 projects already in delivery across the UK, an overall commitment of £1.1bn. This funding has been made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

Funding through the emergency fund for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000 will be available to organisations that have received funding in the past and are either a current grantee, or still under contract following a previous grant. Applications will be open to the full breadth of heritage, from historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives to parks and gardens and landscapes and nature. Priority will be given where there is limited or no access to other sources of support, or where heritage is most at risk.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has surveyed more than 1250 heritage organisations on the effect of the Covid-19 crisis. The results show that 82% of respondents reported a high or moderate risk to their organisation’s long-term viability. 35% stated their financial reserves will be depleted within four months, and 46% of organisations can survive for no more than six months.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Eilish McGuinness said: “We know that circumstances are incredibly challenging for our heritage community right now and we want to do everything we can to support them. We hope this new emergency fund and our investment in digital capability will be a lifeline for organisations affected.

“Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, creating economic prosperity and supporting health and wellbeing.  All of these are going to be vitally important as we emerge from this current crisis.”

Grants from the fund will be open for applications, with further details provided on the selection criteria and how to apply, in the next few days. Decisions will be made as quickly as possible to support the sector.

2nd April 2020 by Stuart

Your article misses out one crucial point: the National Lottery Heritage Fund have stopped all current assessments of applications already in their pipeline, even ones who were a week or so from receiving an answer: this is not a pause, groups have been told their application have been withdrawn. All that hard work to work up a detailed application down the tube!!