National Lottery Heritage Fund pledges help with reopening costs,

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has announced that its emergency grants can also be used to help organisations to recover and reopen, and has extended its application deadline to the end of July. 

The £50 million Heritage Emergency Fund was set up at speed in late April to help the UK’s heritage survive the significant impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, hundreds of grants have now been awarded, addressing immediate pressures for those most in need. But in a climate where their existing business model may no longer be fit for purpose, heritage organisations still face significant challenges as they look towards recovery.

Ros Kerslake, chief executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “This is still a time of great change and uncertainty for heritage organisations, and we are with them in heart and mind right now as they take uncertain steps back into a fast-changing world. We are keen to help them in planning for the recovery that is so vital for heritage, its people and communities.”

Grants have so far supported heritage organisations with essential costs to keep them afloat, from core staff wages to utility bills. They can now also be used to build the foundations of recovery, which may include new operating and business plans, investing in digital, or the potentially significant costs of reopening.

 Many organisations will need to restructure their sites in order to reopen safely and in line with Government guidance. The grants can cover the costs of managing a heritage site during social distancing, which could include additional staff to help manage queues, PPE for staff and volunteers, training, additional cleaning, implementing contactless payment methods, or temporary structures to help manage visitors, like shelter for queues or additional toilets.

The Emergency Fund is part of a wider raft of support available from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for heritage organisations affected by the crisis, which includes continued support for 2,500 organisations where funding of £1.1bn is already committed, and additional £1.2m investment in our Digital Skills for Heritage initiative to help the sector through the crisis and beyond.

 There is also further £2m for ROSS consultants – the experts who support projects, help run delivery, mentor, monitor and help with business plans etc. We will be directing that support to organisations in need as a result of the crisis, and in doing so, supporting several hundred freelancers and self-employed. 

Organisations are encouraged to check their eligibility and apply at


Image: A family in London’s Science Museum

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