Funding sources

Sources of funding and support for the North West

Details correct August 2016

Please refer to websites for up to date information on deadlines, timetabling and grant conditions. Some funders, particularly charitable organisations, proactively seek museums to work with and do not accept unsolicited applications. These funding streams have not been listed here. 

Anna Plowden Trust

Grants to support the development of skills in conservation

  • Continuing Professional Development Grant – contribute to the cost of short courses and conferences
  • Conservation Training Bursary – contribute to the cost of attending full-time conservation training courses

Architectural Heritage Fund

To promote the conservation of historic buildings by providing advice, information and financial assistance to projects that have recently involved or will result in a change of ownership and/or change of use

  • Project Viability Grant – to assess whether it is viable to restore or convert a historic building
  • Project Development Grant – to cover some costs of developing and coordinating a project and taking it towards the start of work on-site
  • Low Interest Loans – for acquisition and/or working capital to repair historic buildings

 Art Fund

Supporting museums and galleries to keep great works of art on public display, enable continued development of collections of fine and applied arts.

  • Acquisitions Programme – purchase of works of art and other objects of aesthetic interest, dating from antiquity to the present day
  • Main Grants – grants of £7,500 and above and/or where the total cost of the work is more than £15,000
  • Small Grants – grants of £7,500 or less where the total cost of the work is £15,000 or less
  • Auctions – time critical applications of any size for works coming up for sale at auction
  • Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Grants Programme – funding for travel and other practical costs to help curators, scholars and researchers undertake collection and exhibition research projects, including temporary administrative cover
  • Art Happens – crowdfunding platform for UK museums and gallery projects. Free of charge to any Accredited museum or gallery

Arts Council England

Supporting a range of activities across arts, museums and libraries.

  • Grants For The Arts – funds activities which engage people in England in arts activities
  • PRISM Fund (Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material) – grants towards the costs of acquisition and conservation of objects important in the history and development of science, technology and industry, rolling deadline
  • Museum Resilience Fund – grants to support museums to become more financially and environmentally resilient. 2016-18 round now closed
  • Strategic Touring Programme – designed to encourage collaboration between organisations, particularly in places which rely on touring for much of their arts provision
  • Capital: Small Grants Fund and Large Grants Fund – to support organisations to become more sustainable and innovative, including increasing their environmental performance and reducing their carbon emissions. For recipients of National Portfolio funding; the next round of funding for large grants opens in July 2016 and for small grants in January 2017.
  • Celebrating Age: Arts and Cultural Organisations Leading Change – supporting cultural spaces and other organisations to be open, positive and welcoming places for older people; and taking high quality arts and culture into places where older people will find it easier to engage. Funded in partnership with the Baring Foundation
  • See also AIM Hallmarks Awards

Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy

Delivering training, traineeships, digital resources and innovative practice, funded by Arts Council England and led by the Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy Consortium. Other consortium partners include the Arts Marketing Association

Association for Industrial Archaeology

Restoration Grants – grants of up to £20,000 for a range of historic and industrial archaeology purposes 

Association of Independent Museums (AIM)

National UK body connecting, supporting and representing independent museums.

  • Sustainability Grant Scheme (funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation) – funds to help museums improve their medium and long term sustainability
  • Conservation Grant Scheme (funded by the Pilgrim Trust) – funds conservation of important, accessioned, museum objects
  • Preventive Conservation Grant Scheme (funded by the Pilgrim Trust) – supports projects to help museums develop a more sustainable approach to the conservation and management of collections through improvements to preventive conservation
  • Training Grant Scheme – to assist staff and volunteers meet their training needs and broaden their skills
  • Hallmarks Awards (funded by Arts Council England) – support museums to develop their work using the “AIM Hallmarks of Prospering Museums”, deadlines in October 2016 and May 2017
  • History Makers – People Who Shaped Our World (funded by Biffa Award) – to fund museums to create new exhibitions that will inspire the public through the lives and achievements of extraordinary, historical figures who have made a significant impact on the industrial, scientific, commercial or social history of the UK, shaping the world we live in today, first deadline October 2016

Beecroft Bequest

Administered by trustees appointed by the Museums Association, provides funding for acquisition of pre-19th century works 

Big Give

Promotes innovative fundraising and provides a mechanism for philanthropists to support charities, and for charities to engage with donors new and old.

  • Christmas Challenge Funding – match funding challenge, double donations during a specified time; encourages larger donations from new, current and lapsed donors. Encourages charities to use new ways of fundraising e.g. through social media

Big Lottery Fund

  • Awards for All – grants from £300 to £10,000 for grassroots and community activity that aims to improve life for local people and neighbourhoods
  • Reaching Communities England – for projects to improve the lives of communities and people most in need, achieving one or more of the following outcomes – people have better chances in life, stronger communities, improved rural and urban environments, healthier and more active people and communities
  • Celebrate! – grants to hold one-off activities or events which celebrate the local community e.g. to celebrate something from the community’s history or a local hero, or a chance to bring people together to get to know their neighbours better

Bulldog Trust

Provides financial and advisory assistance to charities. In partnership with the Golden Bottle Trust provides criteria-free grants for projects that will move an organisation forward with their plans. New Temple Place Partnership to be launched in autumn 2016. Linking with the financial services sector, the Partnership aims to provide up to £10m alongside strategic support, to enable social impact organisations to develop, scale and increase their sustainability

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK

Usually proactively seek partners to work with although open funding is available to support a very small number of exceptional projects that contribute to meeting strategic priorities for 2014-19:

  • Transitions in later life (increase knowledge about transitions in later life and secure more appropriate responses to the issues they create for older people)
  • Sharing the stage (widen participation in performing arts practice, and identify and support models of best practice and originality in the field)
  • Creating the conditions (cross-cutting priority to create the conditions for change by promoting social innovation, strengthening civil society and working to advance our own and others’ philanthropic practice)

The open fund is temporarily suspended

Charles Hayward Foundation

Grants for adaptation of former industrial heritage sites to creative and educational spaces, development of museums and galleries, conservation and preservation of pictures, manuscripts, books and objects for public display, use and interest

  • Main Grant Programme – for UK-registered charities with an annual income of more than £350,000, grants of £25,000 to £50,000
  • Small Grant Programme – for UK-registered charities with an annual income of less than £350,000, maximum grant £7,000
  • Older People Grant Programme – programmes which show creativity in improving the quality of life of older people, maximum grant £7,000

Cheshire Community Action

Database of Cheshire-specific funding

Cheshire Community Foundation

Central point of information for sources of funding in Cheshire. Part of a national movement of Community Foundations that undertake strategic grant-making, facilitate philanthropy and contribute to achieving positive social change in local communities

Clore Duffield Foundation

Provides support for cultural learning, creating learning spaces within arts and heritage organisations.

  • Main Grants Programme – open to registered charities and local authority run museums and galleries, small to large scale projects, can be used as match funding
  • Main Grants Programme: Learning Spaces – funds museum, gallery and heritage learning spaces
  • Poetry and Literature Awards – awards for learning projects and programmes focused on literature, poetry and creative writing for under-19s. Currently closed

The Clothworkers’ Foundation

Aims to improve the lives of people and communities. Also support qualified conservators

  • Main and small grants programmes – will fund arts projects (including capital grants) if they work exclusively with people from their priority programme areas
  • CPD Bursaries – contribute to the cost of travel and accommodation for qualified conservators to attend conferences, short courses and seminars
  • Research Fellowship – grant for a senior conservator to pursue a research sabbatical for two years

Community Foundation for Lancashire

Central point of information for sources of funding in Lancashire. Part of a national movement of Community Foundations that undertake strategic grant-making, facilitate philanthropy and contribute to achieving positive social change in local communities

Community Foundation for Merseyside

Central point of information for sources of funding in Merseyside. Part of a national movement of Community Foundations that undertake strategic grant-making, facilitate philanthropy and contribute to achieving positive social change in local communities


Country Houses Foundation

Grants for the repair and conservation of rural historic buildings and structures, including where appropriate their gardens, grounds and outbuildings. Usually listed or scheduled buildings. Will also consider seed funding to kick start a project. See also the Heritage Alliance and the Heritage Funding Directory

 Cumbria Community Foundation

Central point of information for sources of funding in Cumbria. Part of a national movement of Community Foundations that undertake strategic grant-making, facilitate philanthropy and contribute to achieving positive social change in local communities

Daphne Bullard Trust

Run by the Museums Association, provides grants for textile conservation and display

DCMS Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund

Open to museums sponsored/funded by DCMS, Designated university-based collections, museums with Designated collections, Major Partner Museums. For renovation and improvement of the display of exhibits in permanent galleries and exhibition spaces and improvements to public spaces and access to the collection

Drapers’ Charitable Fund

Provides grants to support textile conservation, particularly textiles of national importance, plus supporting museums related to former exploits of the armed forces or the textile trade

Ernest Cook Trust

Educational grants programme for registered charities and not-for-profit organisations to encourage young people’s interest in the countryside, environment and the arts

  • Small Grants Programme – funding for small registered charities to use as pump-priming for projects which meet the Trust’s objectives
  • Large Grants Programme – for more comprehensive education programmes

Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Fund organisations at a pivotal point in their development, development of emerging talent and art as an instrument for social change, community cohesion or participation

  • Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund (administered by the Museums Association) – funds collections work outside the scope of an organisation’s core resources. See for further details
  • See also AIM Sustainability Grant Scheme

Foyle Foundation

Independent grant making trust for UK charities.

  • Main Grants Scheme: Arts – support projects to help deliver artistic vision and help sustain the arts
  • Main Grants Scheme: Learning – support museum projects which facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and which have a long-term strategic impact
  • Small Grants Scheme – to support smaller charities, especially those working at grass roots and local community level, in any field, across a wide range of activities
  • See also National Cataloguing Scheme

Friends of National Libraries

To help libraries, record offices and museums acquire rare books, manuscripts or archives that organisations would not be able to purchase with their own resources

Funding Central

Provides access to thousands of grants, contracts and loan finance opportunities from local, national and EU funding sources

Garfield Weston Foundation

Revenue and capital grants to for arts and education projects to registered charities that engage with a variety of audiences and that can demonstrate excellence and impact.

  • Major Grants – £100,000 and above
  • Main Grants – ranging from £1,000 to £100,000


Giving to Heritage

The Heritage Alliance’s training programme, aimed primarily at those with little or no experience of fundraising

Granada Foundation

Provides grants to encourage the study and appreciation of fine arts and sciences in the North West


UK’s leading grants and policy database

Greater Manchester Funding Portal

Database of Greater Manchester-specific funding

 Greggs Foundation

Local Community Projects Fund helps organisations based in local communities to deliver projects with people in one of the following areas – disabled or suffering with chronic illness, living in poverty, voluntary carers, homeless or isolated older people

Headley Trust

One of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts. Trustees are prepared to consider unsolicited proposals so long as they closely match one of the following areas of interest:

Arts & Heritage UK

  • Regional museums and galleries, with special consideration for curatorial support and acquisitions
  • The display, study and acquisition of British ceramics
  • Conservation of industrial, maritime and built heritage
  • Archaeology
  • Major museums, galleries and libraries (not normally large capital projects)
  • Crafts (including rural crafts)
  • Arts education/outreach and access to the arts for disabled and disadvantaged people
  • Headley Museums Archaeological Acquisition Fund


  • Bursaries for vocational training in traditional crafts, conservation and heritage skills

Health & Social Welfare

  • Projects to improve older people’s quality of life in residential care homes, including supporting people with dementia
  • Carers’ projects (local & national)
  • Projects that support families, including pre-school children and parenting education
  • Projects that encourage volunteering

The Heritage Alliance

  • Heritage Funding Directory – guide to sources of financial support
  • See also Giving to Heritage 

Heritage Lottery Fund

Grants to sustain and transform the UK’s heritage.

  • First World War: Then and Now – grants for communities and organisations to mark the Centenary of WWI, running until 2019 (£3,000-£10,000)
  • Grants for Places of Worship – projects that involve urgent structural repairs to places of worship at risk, includes work to encourage greater community use and engagement (£10,000-£250,000)
  • Heritage Enterprise – supports community organisations to rescue derelict historic places, giving them productive new uses (£100,000-£5m)
  • Heritage Grants – open programme of grants for any type of larger project related to the national, regional, or local heritage in the UK (£100,000+)
  • Landscape Partnerships – schemes led by partnerships of local, regional and national interests which aim to conserve areas of distinctive landscape character (£100,000-£3m)
  • Our Heritage – grants for any type of project related to national, regional or local heritage (£10,000-£100,000)
  • Parks for People – projects related to historic parks and cemeteries (£100,000-£5m)
  • Resilient Heritage – to build capacity or achieve strategic change to improve the management of heritage. Grants can fund activities to help acquire new skills or knowledge, or new models of governance, leadership and business. Organisations in the early stages of planning their activities may also apply. This new fund has replaced Transition Funding and Start-Up Grants (£3,000-£250,000)
  • Sharing Heritage – programme of grants for any type of project related to national, regional or local heritage (£3,000-£10,000)
  • Skills for the Future – helps organisations deliver paid training placements to meet skills shortages in the heritage sector and to help diversify the workforce (£100,000-£750,000)
  • Townscape Heritage – schemes to help communities improve the built historic environment (£100,000-£2m)
  • Young Roots – projects to help young people aged 11 to 25 explore their heritage (£10,000-£50,000)

 Historic England

  • Repair Grants for Heritage at Risk – grants towards the repair and conservation of listed buildings, scheduled monuments and registered parks and gardens, intended to reduce the risk faced by sites on the Heritage at Risk Register (grant scheme previously called Grants for Historic Buildings, Monuments and Designed Landscapes)
  • Heritage Protection Commissions – funding for strategic research and to build skills and capacity in the historic environment
  • Regional Capacity Building Programme – for activities and projects which are regional in coverage and which promote the understanding, management and conservation of the historic environment

 Icon Tru Vue

Grants to help mid-career conservators attend professional development events such as conferences and training courses

Idlewild Trust

Supports registered charities in projects that support the arts and conservation

  • Art – improve opportunities for young professionals working creatively in the arts, particularly at an early stage in their careers
  • Conservation – support the conservation of historic or artistically important objects and works of art in museums, galleries, places of worship, historic buildings or their grounds

Institute of Fundraising

Professional membership body for UK fundraising. Website contains resources and guidance for heritage organisations and charities. Also see Giving to Heritage

John Ellerman Foundation

Regional Museums and Galleries Fund – focus on visual and decorative arts, social history and natural history collections, funds organisations to enhance and sustain curatorial development to attract a broader public

Kathy Callow Trust

Run by the Museums Association, provides grants for social history conservation projects

Leche Trust

The Trustees award grants to historic buildings of the Georgian period or earlier, acquisition and conservation of historic collections in museums, with preference given to objects of the Georgian period or earlier

Leverhulme Trust

Artist in residence grants – supporting the residency of an artist in a UK institution, for up to a full academic year, in a creative collaboration with staff and/or students. The scheme is intended to bring artists into research and study environments where their artistic form or creative art is not part of the normal curriculum or activities of the host department


National network of community-led organisations; work aims to inspire local communities to change and improve by helping people to set up locally owned and led organisations, support organisations to exchange ideas and best practice on community asset ownership, community enterprise and social action, run major national programmes to support and empower local communities

Mercers Company Charitable Foundation

Support projects to conserve heritage and promote the arts. Provides support for the material or fabric restoration and conservation of Grade I and Grade II* listed buildings, works of art and artefacts, restoration of rare and historic manuscripts. See also National Cataloguing Scheme

Merseyside Funding Information Portal

Database of Merseyside-specific funding

Monument Trust

One of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts. Will consider arts, architectural and environmental projects of national or regional importance, including galleries, museums, and historic houses and gardens. Proposals are particularly welcome for cultural projects which will make a major contribution to improving economically depressed areas. See also National Cataloguing Scheme

Museum Development North West

Sustainable Improvement Fund – funding to experiment and trial new ideas to strengthen sustainability and resilience, develop new ways of working, partnerships and business models, explore or test ideas in order to develop more substantial funding bids from other sources


Museums Association

  • Museums Association Benevolent Fund (merged with the Trevor Walden Trust in 2015) provides funding for
  • the relief of poverty
  • alleviating financial distress suffered by past or present members of the Museums Association and their immediate dependents
  • the advancement of education and training of students participating in programmes and training events organised by the Museums Association, including working towards the AMA
  • See also Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund
  • See also Daphne Bullard Trust
  • See also Beecroft Bequest
  • See also Kathy Callow Trust

National Cataloguing Scheme

Administered by the National Archives for the cataloguing and making accessible archives, including in museums. Funded by Pilgrim Trust, the Foyle Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation, the Monument Trust, the Mercers Company Charitable Foundation, the Goldsmiths Company, the J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust and the Andrew W Mellon Foundation and the National Archives. The 2016 round is now closed


National Heritage Memorial Fund

Aims to save items of outstanding importance to the national heritage, and are at risk. Operates as a fund of last resort. Can help with purchase of works of fine and decorative art, museum collections, archives, manuscripts, items of transport and industrial history, historic buildings and land


National Manuscripts Conservation Trust

Provide assistance towards the cost of conserving manuscripts of historic and educational value from record offices, libraries and other similar publicly funded institutions including local authority, university and specialist record repositories



Innovation charity with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life.

  • Arts Impact Fund, – fund set up to demonstrate the potential for social investment in the arts. Large repayable finance (£150,000 to £600,000) to arts organisations with ambitions to grow, achieve great artistic quality and have a positive impact on society
  • Impact Investments, – support innovations that help improve the health and wellbeing of older people in the UK. Targeted work includes increasing the number of older people participating in social, cultural and economic life. Current focus is on dementia



Independent membership organisation which aims to represent and champion the interests of museums and galleries in the North West; a source of information about professional development grants

Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Arts programme aims to widen access and participation in the arts.

  • Access and Participation Fund – support organisations to test, implement and develop ambitious plans to widen access to and deepen participation in the arts
  • Our Museum: Communities and Museums as Active Partners – an initiative to facilitate a process of development and organisational change within museums and galleries that are committed to active partnership within their communities, with the ambition of affecting the museum sector more widely
  • Arts-based Learning Fund – to encourage the development, use and sustainability of effective arts-based activities in education, through arts organisations working with schools, further education colleges and teachers
  • Youth Fund – supports organisations which work with young people in a way that recognises and builds on their strengths and potential; to promote a way of working where young people’s voices, influence and ideas are central

People’s Postcode Trust

Dream Fund – applications for projects involving at least two organisations (one of which must be a registered charity) to deliver their “dream” project that meets one or more of their priority themes, including engaging people with arts, culture and heritage. Funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery

Pilgrim Trust

To preserve and promote Britain’s historical and intellectual assets and to provide assistance to vulnerable members of society. Supports projects where funds will make the greatest impact and are also interested in projects where charities are having difficulty in raising funds from other sources.

  • Preservation and scholarship – Preservation of and repairs to historic buildings and architectural features. Special consideration is given to projects that give new use to buildings which are at risk and of outstanding architectural or historic importance
  • Promotion of knowledge – through academic research and its dissemination, including cataloguing within museums, galleries and libraries
  • See also AIM Conservation Grant Scheme and Preventive Conservation Grant Scheme
  • See also National Cataloguing Scheme
  • See also National Manuscripts Conservation Trust

Postcode Community Trust

To support organisations to deliver initiatives that focus on sport, health, reducing poverty, environmental improvement and the advancement of human rights within the framework of advancing community development. Funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery. Closed for 2016 applications, details of 2017 funding will be on website in late 2016

Sainsbury Family Charity Trust

The Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts is the operating office of 18 grant- making trusts established by members of the Sainsbury family. Each trust works autonomously as an independent legal entity with a separate board
of trustees. Many of the trusts work closely with their chosen beneficiaries over a long period to achieve particular objectives and the majority of unsolicited proposals received by the Trusts are likely to be unsuccessful. See the website for further details and a list of all the trusts

Santander Foundation

The Discovery Project community programme provides grants to support knowledge, skills and innovation to give disadvantaged people the confidence to discover and create a new world of opportunities. Discovery grants of up to £5,000 available on the themes:

  • Explorer – improving knowledge and insight
  • Transformer – developing skills and experience
  • Changemaker – innovative solutions to social challenges


Sylvia Waddilove Trust

Grants to charities for projects relating to the trust’s priorities, including the preservation of buildings of architectural or historical significance, skills based training of young people and visual and performing arts

Trusthouse Charitable Foundation

Grants For Rural Issues And Urban Deprivation – within these two areas, they support projects in the following categories – arts, education and heritage; community support; disability and healthcare

V&A Purchase Grant Fund

Material of any date relating to arts and culture is eligible for support: archaeological and ethnographical material; objects illustrating social and popular culture, decorative and fine art; rare books; documents and letters with good historical content, estate maps, writers’ manuscripts and archival photographs. Objects to be commissioned from makers or to be bought at auction are eligible.

Wolfson Foundation

Awards grants to support excellence in the sector, defined both through the significance of the collections and also through the work of the institution in displaying, interpreting and encouraging access to these collections.

  • Direct Applications Programme – support the display of permanent collections, fund organisations of national significance that demonstrate excellence in the field
  • See also DCMS/Wolfson Foundation Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund
  • See also Art Fund Acquisitions Programme
  • See also National Cataloguing Scheme


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  1. Pingback: Funding Fair – Final Reminder! | Museum Development North West

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