The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) was founded in 1980 as the fund of last resort for outstanding nationally important heritage that is at risk. Over the past four decades over 1,300 heritage treasures have been saved for the nation.

In response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, earlier this year NHMF’s £40million fund to support nationally important heritage at risk opened. This UK-wide fund includes the Cultural Assets Fund, a specific allocation of £20m from DCMS for England, alongside  NHMF’s own £20m allocation available to organisations across the UK.

Organisations based in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which own or manage nationally important heritage assets at risk due to the impacts of the pandemic are particularly encouraged to contact for advice.

The fund is available across 2021/22 and 2022/23. The mandatory first step in making an application is to submit an Expression of Interest form.

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What can be funded

The COVID-19 Response Fund is available to support any asset of outstanding importance to national heritage and which is at risk due to the impact of COVID-19. This includes built heritage, monuments, land, portable heritage, heritage sites and collections. The fund is open to applications from charities, not for profit organisations and public bodies.

As part of the fund NHMF can support a range of costs to safeguard the heritage asset which is at risk, including:

  • Acquisition/purchase costs, including associated professional fees.
  • Transport costs, including conservation standard handling and packing for collections or heavy lift/transport costs for large items/historic vehicles.
  • Interim storage costs and investment in new permanent storage capacity.
  • Urgent conservation work necessary due to Covid-19 impact and investment to resolve maintenance backlog/deficit, collection care costs.
  • Condition surveys, cataloguing, management and conservation planning.
  • Professional fees, including legal and other fees to support asset transfer
  • Ownership transition costs; fixed term support to enable sustainable rehoming of heritage asset.
  • Organisational development costs to support asset transfer; skills development/capacity building, business review and business planning support.

Key criteria:

  • Importance to the national heritage: applications must be concerned with buying, maintaining or preserving objects, collections, buildings or land that are of particular importance to the national heritage of the UK.
  • Outstanding interest to the national heritage: This could be because of rarity, quality, association with a historic figure or event or designations.
  • At risk as a result of the impact of Covid-19: Eligible applications will need to prove that the item/s will be at risk in some way should funds not be available to acquire or carry out the works that proposed.
  • Will be publicly accessible if awarded a grant.

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