MDNW coronavirus update

Here’s our round up of the announcements about COVID-19 relevant to the sector that have come out this week. These are up to date at the time of posting but as things are changing quickly please check the original source for any updates.

 To look back at any of our previous blog posts and their links, find them on our website using the search term ‘coronavirus’.

Latest information
Latest information and advice (3rd April)


Arts Council England
Emergency funding package (1st April)
Emergency funding package for museums outside of the National Portfolio.

You must be an Accredited museum with experience in the last three years of delivering work that was funded (directly or indirectly) by bodies such as Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Lottery Community Fund, local authorities, universities, public sector bodies, trusts and foundations etc.

Your museum needs to have been part of the delivery of publicly funded work, even if they didn’t directly apply for the funding themselves.

Please note that if you haven’t directly received funding from any of the above bodies, but you have had a Sustainable Improvement Fund grant from Museum Development North West or any other grant funding from MDNW in the last three years, you are still eligible to apply. This counts as indirect funding from ACE.

Museums which are currently Working Towards Accreditation cannot apply.

Museums can apply for funding of up to £35,000 to be used within six months of receiving a grant.

The funding is to support organisations that do not receive regular funding from the Arts Council by providing some financial assistance during this time and giving them the best chance to be in a position to continue once the situation created by the COVID-19 emergency has eased.

The funding could be used to cover:

  • Activity intended to prevent your organisation ceasing operation due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 emergency, or example:
    • urgent changes of business model
    • essential operational costs (such as rent and staff costs)
    • IT and other equipment-related costs to support home working


  • Development and delivery of activity specifically designed to be deliverable during the next six months, including:
    • development projects in readiness for organisations restarting normal operations, for example organisational development, and/or
    • public facing projects, for example digital/online projects

There will be two rounds of this fund.

You can apply to only one of these rounds. If you apply to the first round you will not be able to apply to the second round, even if ACE are unable to offer you a grant in the first round.

The budget will be split equally across both rounds. Please apply to the round that suits your circumstances best.

Round one Round two
Portal opens for applications


Thursday 9 April 2020 Thursday 16 April 2020
Portal closes for applications


Thursday 16 April 2020 (12pm midday) Thursday 30 April 2020 (12pm midday)

If you don’t already have a Grantium profile, please try to register by Monday 13 April 2020 for the first round, otherwise there is no guarantee that your profile will have been validated in time. Use this guidance to help you.

We have had some feedback from museums finding it difficult to set up an applicant profile in Grantium, where the operating name of the museum is different to that of the legal name of the organisation – typically this applies to longstanding charitable associations/heritage organisations that existed long before operating a museum. Some brief notes on this are here – Grantium applicant name advice

ACE has also pulled together the latest support and guidance for organisations and individuals.

ACE has also just published some FAQs about the pause to the Accreditation scheme until April 2021.


National Lottery Heritage Fund – Heritage Emergency Fund
Short-term funding for organisations delivering heritage projects or running previously funded projects, and safeguarding heritage sites NLHF have previously invested in to ensure they are not lost to the public.

The Heritage Emergency Fund will be available as:

  • A fund that organisations can access over the next three-six months as short-term funding to stabilise operations and manage unforeseen risks. Grants of between £3,000-£50,000 will be available
  • A select number of key strategic investments where heritage is identified as at greatest risk. This could include grant increases to funded projects that are currently underway.

Decisions on awards under the Heritage Emergency Fund will be made as quickly as possible to support the sector. Awards will be made on the basis of a set of criteria to identify those with the greatest need. They will also need to meet the following three requirements:

  • organisations that have received funding in the past and are either a current grantee, or still under contract following a previous grant
  • organisations with limited or no access to other emergency initiatives from other funding bodies and Lottery Distributors
  • organisations where there is limited scope to repurpose existing funding for a project

Grants will be open for applications and further details provided on the selection criteria and how to apply in the next few days.


MDNW (3rd April)
Emergency funding bid writing support

To help museums respond quickly with applications to the emergency funding programmes from ACE and NLHF we are working with Laura Drane, who usually delivers our popular bid writing workshops, to support non-NPO Accredited museums in the North West wanting to apply to either fund.

25 slots will be available to book with Laura to either discuss the scheme/s and application processes in relation to your circumstances, or proofing what you’ve already drafted to offer feedback.

Slots will be allocated on a first come first served basis. For further information and to book a slot see here.

Funding sources information
We are in the middle of updating the ‘Funding Sources’ tab on our website to reflect the responses from funders on how they’re supporting grantees at the moment, indicating where usual grant programmes are still running as normal, and details of new or repurposed grant streams specifically in response to COVID-19. This will be updated before Easter.


Association of Independent Museums (31st March)
AIM have a page on their website dedicated to coronavirus resources, including listing the current financial support available for museums as employers, businesses and charities, as well as finance support information for individuals.

AIM is also offering one-to-one online advice surgeries for AIM members. These are one hour slots via email, phone or video conferencing, using the consultants who normally provide expertise to AIM’s Prospering Boards programme.

AIM is also offering free HR advice to members to assist on issues around coronavirus, in conjunction with AIM’s HR provider TheHRDept


Security and collections care advice during lockdown
Collections Trust is collating information and advice on security and collections care on its new Collections in Lockdown page.

AIM also has a page on their website

On Tuesday 7th April Collections Trust will be hosting an online discussion on caring for your collections during lockdown. More details here.


 Charities Aid Foundation Coronavirus Emergency Fund (30th March)
This fund is to help smaller charitable organisations in the UK affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 are available. Organisations with a charitable purpose and charitable activities, which had income of £1million or less in their last financial year can apply. You can apply for unrestricted funding for core costs, staffing, volunteer costs, supplies and equipment, communications or other critical charitable areas.  You must be able to describe how an emergency grant will improve the situation for your organisation and community.

Small Charities Coalition has resources and guidance for small charities.

DCMS Coronavirus bulletin 20200330 (30th March 2020)

Charity Finance GroupCoronavirus and your charity (2nd April)


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