Supporting the Heritage Sector to Manage the Impact of Coronavirus

In such challenging and uncertain times for everyone, we are working hard to protect and champion heritage which is a source of well-being and collective identity. We are collaborating with a number of heritage organisations to:

  • share information and expertise
  • provide support and guidance
  • understand the impact of the current situation on the heritage sector

Work is currently focused across five key areas:

COVID-19 Emergency Response Funding

Our Culture Recovery Fund pages provide details about current and previous funds available to sector organisations.

If you are one of our existing grant recipients, please read our updated guidance.

Heritage Sector Response Group

This group of national heritage organisations has come together to assess the impact on heritage, to share information and to co-ordinate support and action.

The attendees are drawn from across the national Historic Environment Forum and include, amongst others:

  • Historic England
  • Historic Houses
  • National Lottery Heritage Fund
  • National Trust
  • The Heritage Alliance

The group is at present focussing on immediate responses but will refocus on longer term considerations as soon as possible.

Working with the Government

We are in daily contact with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and have regular contact with the Heritage Minister to discuss heritage issues, including initial responses and for longer-term planning.

The Heritage Alliance is also gathering concerns and questions from its members and sharing these with both Historic England and the DCMS so that the immediate challenges to the independent heritage sector can be understood.

Please feed immediate questions and concerns to The Heritage Alliance on [email protected]

Assessing the impact on heritage

We are working closely with the heritage sector to collate comprehensive and consistent information on the impact of Coronavirus. We need to make sure that we have reliable data and evidence on how all parts of the sector have been affected, so that we can respond quickly and effectively.

As well as the considerable impact on tourist sites, we will collect data on the impact on small businesses, craft skills specialists and heritage crime so that we can best plan for the recovery phase.

If you would like to contribute ideas on the data that should be collected or send us evidence of how you have been impacted, please email [email protected]

Other support

The Heritage Alliance is providing up-to-the-minute advice and information for its members and all those heritage organisations affected by the virus. The Heritage Alliance is the umbrella body that unites over 150 independent heritage organisations in England. Their information is regularly updated so do keep an eye on it.

Our guidance on managing heritage locations safely will help you find guidance and think through considerations for working at historic sites, including retail and visitor attractions.

Support for organisations active in the heritage sector

If you run a business based in or on a historic building we have specific advice on how to look after and make changes to it.

Our grant assistance to owners of historic commercial buildings is focused through our Heritage Action Zone programme. Unfortunately, we cannot offer grants to support local businesses outside that scheme but there are a number of other external sources that may be able to help.

Our summary of Government support for businesses

The British Library is running a series of webinars for small business owners transform and grow their businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Book place on webinar

We outline updates to the planning response to the pandemic in our monthly Planning Bulletin. However, given the fast-moving nature of responses to the pandemic we would recommend checking websites including, the Local Government Association and the Planning Advisory Service.

Historic England produces a very wide range of guidance and training. If you’re taking some time to catch up on your professional development, you could:

There are many other heritage organisations that are providing support in a number of ways:

The £95 million government-funded High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme, delivered by Historic England, will unlock the potential of high streets across England, fuelling economic, social and cultural recovery. From Plymouth to Hexham, 68 historic high streets have been offered government funding

Other grants and funding

Many other organisations in the sector provide targeted grants and support for particular types of heritage or organisation. Some of these are new schemes to provide support during COVID-19, while others are part of a continuing programme of grants.

This page provides links to some of the schemes available nationally, but it may not be comprehensive. Other, regional, schemes may also be available, for example through your local Community Foundation.

The Heritage Alliance Funding Hub may also be a useful source of information.

Our other advice pages cover:

This page will be updated regularly and is correct at the time of publication.

National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund website is constantly updated with more information on their grants, including building capacity and resilience.

National Heritage Memorial Fund

The National Heritage Memorial Fund is running a COVID-19 Response Fund. This offers support to projects involving any heritage asset which is of outstanding importance to the national heritage and which is at risk due to the impact of coronavirus. The scheme is open until April 2023.

Grants for buildings, monuments or collections

  • Pilgrim Trust: continues its grant programme for conservation projects for buildings, monuments and collections

Historic Places of Worship

  • Allchurches Trust: Existing grant schemes are open, along with resources and advice online
  • ChurchCare grants: ChurchCare is the Church of England’s national resource to support its parishes, dioceses and cathedrals
  • National Churches Trust: The Trust continues to operate its grant schemes for repair and maintenance

Maritime heritage


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