NHLF Launches new £50m Emergency Fund

Posted on: 9 April 2020

Updated 09 April 2020

NLHF:  Heritage Emergency Fund

 For the full guidance notes on NLHF website

  • Grant amounts: £3,000 to £50,000.
  • Application form will be available from Wednesday 15 April
  • Deadline for application is 30 June 2020

Who can apply?

  • a not-for-profit organisation
  • a current or previous recipient of a grant directly from us (over £10000)
  • an owner, manager or representative of heritage, or be able to show you have delivered participatory heritage activity

They are not accepting applications from:

  • statutory organisations, for example, local authorities, even if you have previously received funding from us
  • private owners of heritage, even if you have previously received funding from us
  • organisations that have previously only received funding from us for activity-based projects under £10,000.
  • organisations mainly funded by UK and devolved Governments
  • organisations that have already accepted emergency funding from another National Lottery distributor. As part of our focus on maximising the impact of National Lottery Good Causes investment in communities, organisations that have been funded by different National Lottery funders should, in the first instance, choose the most relevant fund and apply only to them.

How will NLHF prioritise applications?

  • have limited or no alternative access to other sources of support
  • have already tried other options to stop being at risk
  • are in greater financial risk from COVID-19 due to a reliance on trading or community fundraising income streams
  • are in greater financial risk due to limited reserves

Organisations will be a lower priority for support if they:

  • are better placed to access emergency funding from other sources
  • have significant and ongoing resilience issues pre-dating the COVID-19 emergency. If this applies to your organisation, we recommend you discuss these issues with your local team, as we may be able to provide advice and support through our longer-term strategic initiatives.
  • completed their last National Lottery Heritage Fund project over 10 years ago.

What NLHF will fund

 The Heritage Emergency Fund is short-term funding to support the immediate actions needed to stabilise operations and manage unforeseen risks. You can apply to us for a grant between £3,000 and £50,000 to cover unavoidable costs you will otherwise be unable to meet for up to four months.

  • You should only apply to us for essential costs.
  • Partnership funding is not required.

As a guide you could apply for costs to:

  • stabilise your organisation in the immediate term to make sure the vital heritage you care for is not put further at risk by COVID-19 (for example, staff costs to allow you to respond, design and deliver plans)
  • help you plan and initiate mothballing of (putting aside or withdrawing from use) your heritage asset/s and other approaches to protecting heritage that is at risk
  • run immediate risk management reviews and the actions identified as needed to safeguard your organisation
  • reconfigure business plans, governance and activity needed to help safeguard the future of your organisation
  • cover essential operational costs, for example, site security, maintaining climatic conditions for collections, or managing livestock on habitats


What NLHF won’t fund

  • costs that are eligible to be covered by Government support, for example, furloughing
  • the remaining 20% salary costs for staff on furlough or any additional salary costs above the furloughing cap
  • redundancy costs of staff not funded by a current National Lottery Heritage Fund project
  • costs that are avoidable in the short term. We will let you know if we think this is the case and remove these from your grant request.
  • costs you will incur beyond four months from the point of your application.
  • anything that contravenes Governments’ advice on COVID-19.


How to apply?

  1. Before you apply

If you have a closed NLHF project (you have received your final payment), you can contact your local team [www.heritagefund.org.uk/in-your-area] to discuss your options before you apply.

If your NLHF project is still running, we recommend you speak to your investment manager before you start an application. We will discuss the options available to you.

If you need to apply to us for any direct capital costs for an existing NLHF project, make sure you speak to your investment manager before you apply, as you may be eligible for an increase to your existing grant.

  1. When you are ready to apply (application form available from 15 April)

 To support applicants interested in applying to the Fund, NLHF have prepared a list of application information that you will need to get ready.

What they’ll need to know about your organisation:

  • organisation name
  • most recent Heritage Fund project reference number
  • contact details for two project representatives
  • registered charity number (if applicable)
  • the nature of the work your organisation does and how you are contributing to our outcomes around economic regeneration, inclusion and wellbeing


What they’ll need to know about the costs you are applying for:

  • a full breakdown of the essential costs you are applying for (and VAT status)

What we’ll need to know about the current financial status of your organisation

  • how much of your organisation’s income is from earned sources as opposed to revenue grants or other fundraising (expressed in %)
  • whether you are expecting to receive revenue grant funding (not project specific)
  • whether you have applied or are planning to apply for any COVID-19 schemes (for example central government or other National Lottery distributors)
  • your organisation’s investment funds (if applicable- last valuation and purpose)
  • how much available money you have in reserves and your policy on holding funds for specific purposes (if applicable)
  • an estimate of any significant fixed operating costs specific to the heritage you care for (if applicable)
  • what you need to do now to stop your organisation being at risk. What you have already done to reduce your outgoings and what more you plan to do.
  • details about any free reserves or other funding immediately available to support the short-term operation of your organisation
  • whether your organisation has faced any significant sustainability concerns in 2019 or early 2020 before COVID-19


Supporting documents if you are applying for £10000 or more:

  • An income and expenditure forecast for day-to-day operations, excluding any income and expenditure related to a specific project(s) that you are already committed to for which you have earmarked or restricted funding
  • A cash flow forecast prepared on the same basis as the income and expenditure forecast. These documents should relate to the period for which you are applying for funding and include any other income from any other emergency funding sources.


  1. Once you have submitted your application

NLHF will check that your organisation and application meet the criteria outlined above. If your application does not meet the aims of the fund it may be rejected earlier in the assessment period, and they will let you know this at the time.

NLHF will get back to you with a decision within two to four weeks. They may decide to offer you a different amount to the amount you request. Your grant award will be confirmed in writing.

This process is designed to be as quick and simple as possible, while still ensuring our funds are allocated to those who are most in need.


  1. If you are awarded a grant

You will need to submit additional forms on our system so that NLHF can make a payment.

NHLF will let you know when you need to do this and guide you through the process. If you are awarded a grant, NLHF will send you a new grant award letter and you will need to complete a permission to start form. When you have completed this process, NHLF will pay 100% of your grant upfront.


NHLF will not be accepting resubmissions under the Heritage Emergency Fund due to the immediate nature of this funding.

Additional support

You can find out more about NLHF’s response to COVID-19, including some FAQs here: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/news/heritage-emergency-fund-launches-help-sector


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