The National Lottery Heritage Fund - Strategic Funding Framework Launch

Posted on February 20, 2019

Ben Aspinall recently attended the launch of the Heritage Fund’s fifth Strategic Framework and briefing for ROSS panel members in Manchester. 

ROSS is the Register of Specialist Support for the Heritage Fund – or more formally the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  It is no longer the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and ‘wrists will be slapped’ if you use the old brand!

Gone or going are all the old programmes including Townscape Heritage and Heritage Enterprise.  The main new fund will be known as ‘National Lottery Grants for Heritage’.  This will be a single ‘open anytime’ programme providing grants of between £3,000 - £5 million.   There will be two rounds of major grants of over £5 million – the first call is expected in Spring 2019 for an award in 2020-21.   

The new SFF has a budget of £1.2 bn over the next 5 years.  It will still prioritise heritage at risk but will also prioritise landscape and nature as well as community heritage.  In addition to the National Lottery Grants for Heritage there will be other funds for Community Grants and Area based schemes.

A significant change (which is an evolution of the old Heritage Enterprise funding stream) is that commercial organisations can now lead an application when in a partnership with one or more not-for-profit organisations.  This is a key change as previously the not-for-profit entity had to lead. 

Also, instead of being exclusively commercial uses, projects can be wholly residential or residential within a mixed-use scheme.  This is in response to public consultation saying that there are a large number of eyesores which could be brought back into use. Residential projects can be affordable housing or community development, but also private market housing.  There is an interesting dynamic created here with Historic England’s guidance on enabling development and Local Planning Authority’s affordable housing policies. 

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is currently being re-structured into three English areas as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The new application process involves an ‘Expression of Interest’ stage for grants over £250,000 or an ‘Enquiry Form’ for grants below £250,000.   Grants up to £250,000 will be determined at the local officer level following a single round application.  Only large grants above £250,000 will be subject to a 2 stage application process for committee decision.

Successful applications will need to achieve some or all of the Heritage Fund’s outcomes which are:

  • A wider range of people will be involved in heritage
  • Heritage will be in better condition
  • Heritage will be identified and better explained
  • People will have developed skills
  • People will have learnt about heritage, leading to change in ideas and actions
  • People will have greater wellbeing
  • The funded organisation will be more resilient
  • The local area will be a better place to live, work or visit
  • The local economy will be boosted.

These have been reduced from the old programmes and they are no longer weighted.  You don’t have to achieve them all which frees-up the types for projects that could come forward.

We are always delighted to meet with prospective new clients to talk about potential projects. Please call or email us with your contact details and brief description of the scheme -