NHMF launches £40 million funding response

NHMF’s COVID-19 Response Fund will address long term impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on heritage assets 

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A collage showing several objects that have received NHMF funding: a castle, vase, painting, manuscript, train, fair ground ride, hand written words on a page, hoarde

A new £40 million fund of last resort launches today to save nationally-important heritage assets at risk of loss due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Our COVID-19 Response Fund is open to applications from charities, not-for-profit and public sector organisations over the next two years. 

The new fund is formed from £20million from National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) reserves, available to organisations across the UK, boosted by the Cultural Asset Fund, £20million from the Government to safeguard heritage assets in England. 

Saving a wealth of outstanding heritage  

A broad range of heritage is eligible for support from the COVID-19 Response Fund, from fine and decorative arts to museum collections and archives, historic buildings and land, and items of industrial, transport and maritime heritage.  

Successful applications could include: 

  • acquisition costs 
  • urgent conservation work necessary as a result of COVID-19 
  • fixed term support to enable heritage assets to be sustainably rehomed 
  • interim safeguarding costs and investment in permanent solutions to support heritage assets for the long term 

£40million for 40 years  

The launch of our COVID-19 Response Fund comes as the National Heritage Memorial Fund marks its 40th year anniversary of safeguarding exceptional heritage items. The availability of this funding in response to the pandemic is particularly resonant as the NHMF was established as a memorial to those who have given their lives for the United Kingdom

Since 1980, NHMF has made over 1,370 awards totalling £368m in grants and loans. This has included to save historic buildings such as Gwyrch Castle and Wentworth Woodhouse, landscapes including Skokholm Island, paintings by Picasso and Titian and archaeological finds such as the Galloway Hoard. 

Ros Kerslake, CEO, the National Heritage Memorial Fund said: "After an extremely challenging year across the heritage sector, the impacts of which will be seen for some time, I am delighted that the NHMF’s COVID-19 Response Fund is now open to safeguard and save the UK’s most important heritage assets in jeopardy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"From today, organisations across the UK can apply for help with protecting assets at risk, from this fund which has been established with £20million of support from NHMF funds and a further boost of £20million from the Government’s Cultural Asset Fund, available to those in England."

How to apply

Read the full COVID-19 Response Fund application guidance. The fund will be open until the end of April 2023.  

If you want to apply for funding for nationally significant heritage that has not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to our standard funding stream.