Grants to support community organisations in the UK to achieve economic growth by helping them to rescue neglected historic buildings and sites and return them to a viable productive use.
Grants of between £100,000 and £5 million are available.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) uses money from the National Lottery to support a wide range of projects involving the local, regional and national heritage of the United Kingdom.
The Heritage Enterprise programme aims to support community organisations to achieve economic growth by helping them to rescue neglected historic buildings and sites and return them to a viable productive use.
Funding is not available for the cost of existing staff time or existing organisational costs.
The following are unlikely to receive funding:
- Projects with a focus on residential rather than commercial development.
- Projects where the main focus is an urban park or an active place of worship.
Not-for-profit organisations and partnerships led by not-for-profit organisations in the UK are eligible to apply. Not-for-profit organisations can include the following:
- Community or voluntary groups.
- Community Interest Companies.
- Charities and trusts.
- Social enterprises.
- Community/parish councils.
- Local authorities.
- Other public sector organisations.
Partnerships are required to nominate a lead applicant which will be a not-for-profit organisation that will provide a signed partnership agreement showing the involvement of each partner and how the project will be managed.
Private sector for-profit organisations are encouraged to participate but are required to be minority partners in a partnership that is led by a not-for-profit group. The private for-profit sector may engage with Heritage Enterprise projects in several ways, such as:
- By forming a development partnership with a not-for-profit group. In this way the commercial company will invest in some of the capital costs and take back a return from the rental income generated by the business occupation of the conserved heritage site.
- By occupying and setting up their businesses in refurbished historic buildings, paying market rents to the not-for-profit organisation or partnership that manages the heritage site.
- By providing some of the capital for the conservation and adaptation of the heritage site.
Priority will be given to projects that are located within areas of the UK experiencing economic disadvantage. Projects do not need to be located within designated areas of deprivation but applicants will be asked to define the economic need of the area and the difference the project will make.
Applicants must make a contribution to the project. This can be made up of cash, volunteer time, non-cash contributions, or a combination of all of these. Some of the funding must be from the organisation’s own resources.
The value of increased future costs of management and maintenance for up to five years after practical completion can be included as partnership funding.
The increased value of the property following development should be included as a cash contribution to the project. Once the conservation deficit has been calculated:
- Organisations that are applying for a grant of less than £1 million must contribute at least 5% of the conservation deficit.
- Organisations that are applying for a grant of £1 million or more must contribute at least 10% of the conservation deficit.
Funding is available for heritage projects that have the potential to unlock a heritage asset in need of investment and use it as a stimulus for economic growth. It is anticipated that in most instances this will involve the repair and adaptation of a historic building or a coherent group of historic buildings for an end-use that generates a sustainable commercial income.
Projects are not required to provide open public access once the capital project is completed, but the project should look for opportunities for people to develop skills and learn about heritage during the lifetime of the project.
Priority will be given to projects that focus on heritage assets which are considered both to be ‘at risk’ and formally designated. Consideration will be given to applications for undesignated assets if it can be shown that they are either of sufficient heritage importance to merit designation or that they are of particular heritage value to the local community.
Projects are expected to create sufficient revenue to provide a reasonable return for the owner/developer and provide enough income to pay for ongoing maintenance and repair of the heritage asset once the development is completed.
Funding can be used for the following:
- The purchase of a heritage asset in need of investment.
- Essential conservation work, such as structural repairs to a historic building.
- Work to bring vacant and derelict buildings and sites back into commercial use.
- Activities to help people engage with the heritage asset, including:
- Training in conservation, mentoring, learning, management or digital skills for people delivering the project.
- Providing activities or information that allows people to learn about the heritage of the buildings or sites in the project.
- Work to help develop and manage the project, such as:
- Valuations, professional fees or the costs associated with obtaining the necessary statutory consents.
- Specialist research to ensure the conservation and development works are properly informed by a thorough understanding of the significance of the heritage asset and its repair needs.
- Preparing a development appraisal.
- Employing project staff.
- A limited amount of funding for capital expenditure during project development to support:
- Urgent repairs to prevent further deterioration of the asset whilst detailed planning work is completed.
- New temporary structures designed to allow ‘meanwhile uses’ during project development.
Applications should include all costs that are directly incurred as a result of the project, including:
- Property acquisition and related costs.
- Capital work, including repairs, conversion and new build costs.
- Development management costs.
- Planning and building control fees.
- Finance costs.
- Research, such as specialist surveys or historic research.
- The preparation of development appraisals.
- The preparation of management and maintenance plans, activity statements, conservation plans and project business plans.
- Payments/bursaries for trainees.
- Activities to engage people with heritage.
- New staff posts.
- Extra hours for existing staff.
- The cost of filling a post left empty by moving an existing member of staff into a post created for the project.
- Professional fees.
- Extra costs for the organisation, such as a new phone, extra photocopying, new computers or extra rent.
Voluntary organisations can also submit part of the organisation’s overheads (core costs) as a part of the costs of the project. This contribution should be calculated using Full Cost Recovery.
Guidance notes, a project enquiry form, an application form, standard terms of conditions and other relevant documents can be found on the Heritage Lottery Fund website.
Applications may be submitted at any time.
Grant requests of over £100,000 and under £2 million will be considered every three months. Grant requests of over £2 million and up to £5 million will be considered every two months.
Applicants can submit an online project enquiry form. HLF staff will then get in touch within 10 working days to say whether the project fits with the programme and to provide support with an application.
Applications go through a two-round process. First-round application forms are available to download from the HLF website and should be submitted with a delivery-grant request (for doing the project) and, if needed, a development-grant request (for getting ready to do the project). Applications will be considered solely on the basis of the conservation deficit and not on the applicant’s inability to fund a commercially viable scheme. Applicants will need to provide an indication of the conservation deficit by submitting information from a viability appraisal. The conservation deficit will then be calculated through the preparation of a development appraisal.
Successful applicants will then develop a more detailed second-round application.