Funding sources

Sources of funding and support for the North West

Details correct August 2017

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

  • Anna Plowden/Clothworkers’ Foundation Continuing Professional Development Grants – contribute to the cost of short courses and conferences
  • Conservation Training Scholarships – 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

To promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK by providing advice, information and financial assistance in the form of early project grants and loans for projects undertaken by charities and not-for-private profit organisations:

  • Project Viability Grant – to fund studies to look at potential uses for a building and at its current condition. Used to judge whether applicants can then apply for AHF’s Project Development Grant
  • Project Development Grant – to cover some costs of developing and coordinating a project and taking it towards the start of work on-site
  • Heritage Projects Fund – loan facilities to eligible charities and other not-for-profit organisations, either for the acquisition of a building, or to provide working capital throughout a restoration project
  • Community Heritage Support Fund – supportive social investment into enterprises which benefit from the UK’s architectural heritage and consequently seek to improve the lives of people in our communities
  • Heritage Mortgage Programme – allows for earlier, longer-term financial planning, potentially reducing the annual costs upon a borrower; the mortgage is available either pre- or post-completion of a capital project 

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
  • Weston Loan Programme – grant programme to provide regional museums and visitors with increased access to national museum and gallery collections, made possible by the Garfield Weston Foundation
  • 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. Note – this fund will become Grants For The Arts and Culture from April 2018 – see website for up to date details
  • 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
  • Strategic Touring Programme – designed to encourage collaboration between organisations, particularly in places which rely on touring for much of their arts provision
  • Celebrating Age – 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. Last date to submit an expression of interest is 31st August 2017
  • Ambition for Excellence – to support a programme of ambition, talent and excellence across the arts sector, including museums. Last date to submit an expression of interest for 2015-18 funding is 27th October 2017
  • Catalyst – to build fundraising capacity to enable arts and culture organisations to attract more private giving to the sector
  • See also AIM Hallmarks Awards
  • See also V&A Purchase Grant Fund

Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy

AFP’s mission is to strengthen cultural organisations’ resilience and sustainability by transforming their fundraising knowledge, skills and levels of success. The Consortium members (Cause4, the Arts Marketing Association (AMA) and the University of Leeds) work together with a wide range of partners to deliver a programme that empowers arts and cultural professionals across England to seize the considerable opportunities that fundraising offers them to form important relationships, develop new income streams and develop new commercial opportunities. The programme has now been extended to March 2018

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.

  • Biffa Award History Makers Programme – People Who Shaped Our World – 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, deadline for expressions of interest is 2nd October 2017
  • Hallmarks Awards (funded by Arts Council England) – support museums to begin to use the principles in the “AIM Hallmarks of Prospering Museums” to improve the way they work
  • Training Grants – support member museums in developing the skills and expertise of their staff and trustees
  • Collections Care Audits (funded by the Pilgrim Trust) new scheme in partnership with Icon to enable small museums to undertake a basic, professional collections care audit. Applications close 30th September 2017
  • Remedial Conservation Grant Scheme (funded by the Pilgrim Trust) – funds conservation of important, accessioned, museum objects. Applications close 30th September 2017
  • Collections Care 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 collections care. Applications close 30th September 2017
  • Sustainability Grant Scheme (funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation) – funds to help medium and smaller sized museums improve their medium and long term sustainability. Applications close 15th January 2018

 Beecroft Bequest

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

Big Give

Supports charities by showcasing their work to supporters and philanthropists, allowing charities to take online donations, increase online visibility, and offering opportunities to take part in match funding campaigns

  • 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
  • Match funding – the Big Give sources Champions to provide match funds towards a charity’s project. Champions are trusts, foundations and corporations who promise to match the online donations the charity receives, allowing it to maximise its fundraising potential

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 – lasting and sustainable changes to places and spaces, communities to develop happier and stronger relationships with each other, taking action to focus on the root causes of social problems to tackle them at the earliest possible stage
  • See also The Fore Trust

Bulldog Trust

See The Fore Trust

Charles Hayward Foundation

Grants for protecting, restoring and interpreting past inventions, discoveries, industrial sites and defining moments that have shaped our history and identity, and displaying them in a modern context for public engagement, use and learning. Will fund 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 £20,000 to £50,000

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. Current priorities are to improve mental health & wellbeing, to tackle poverty and disadvantage, to develop education, skills and employment, and to build stronger communities across Cheshire

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

Comic Relief

Fund to engage older people aged 65 and over from ‘harder to reach’ groups to get involved in opportunities which use their skills, knowledge and experience to contribute to their communities. Looking for proposals which put older people at the centre of the work, designing and developing activities or opportunities which meet their needs, interests and priorities. Must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Older people improve their mental health and wellbeing
  • Older people increase the quality and quantity of their social connections
  • Older people develop an enhanced sense of purpose and empowerment

Deadline for proposals 29th August 2017

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 Foundation Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund

Established in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to improve the quality of displays, exhibition spaces, collection interpretation and disabled access in museums and galleries across England

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

Current priorities for arts funding are art with a social impact, supporting emerging talent, and organisations at a pivotal point in their development. Other priorities are children and young people, environment, food and social change

  • 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. Between 2017 and 2019 it is offering a total of £3.5m in grants, as well as providing events and resources for the whole sector
  • See also AIM Sustainability Grant Scheme

The Fore Trust

Make grants of up to £30,000 over one to three years and provide access to business expertise to help grantees achieve their goals. Offering development funding and strategic support to early-stage charities and social enterprises. A partner of the Big Lottery Fund. Three funding rounds per year

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, project and capital grants in the following categories:

Museums & heritage – support organisations that conserve and interpret our nation’s heritage for future generations, ensuring it is accessible and available to all.

Arts – support organisations that delight and inspire audiences across the UK

  • Major Grants – £100,000 and above
  • Main Grants – ranging from £1,000 to £100,000
  • See also Art Fund’s Weston Loan Programme

Goldsmiths Company

Funds registered charities; priority will be given to cultural projects which have both the intention of using culture for the transformational power it possesses in changing the imaginative and emotional scope of people’s lives and also, crucially, those applications that have the objective credibility to realise that intention. Additionally, charities which contribute to the professional advancement and diversity of those with the talent but not necessarily the means to develop it will also be considered

See also National Cataloguing Scheme

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

Greggs Foundation

  • Local Community Projects Fund – funds projects that improve resilience within the community, involving people in one of their target areas and which demonstrate improvement in one of the following areas – decreased social isolation, improved health & wellbeing, improved resilience/coping mechanisms, improved life skills, improved opportunities
  • Environmental Grants Programme – funds projects that improve the local environment to impact on the quality of life of people living there

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)
  • 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 disadvantaged families and young people

The Heritage Alliance

The biggest alliance of heritage interests in the UK, set up to promote the central role of the independent movement in the heritage sector.

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 (£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)
  • 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
  • Heritage Protection Commissions – funding for strategic research and to build skills and capacity in the historic environment. Funds through both Open Proposals Programme and Calls for Proposals
  • 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

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 the Heritage Alliance’s Giving to Heritage

John Ellerman

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

LEADER Rural Development Fund

The Cultural and Heritage Fund provides support for rural community organisations and landowners to help to promote, enhance and maintain cultural heritage assets in rural Lancashire. The Tourism Fund is aimed at projects looking to undertake small scale developments, which build on the distinctiveness of rural Lancashire

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


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

Is currently undergoing a strategic review of its grant making scheme and will be launching the new strategy in autumn 2017

See also National Cataloguing Scheme

Merseyside Funding Information Portal

Database of Merseyside-specific funding

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 cataloguing and making accessible archives, including in museums. Funded by Pilgrim Trust, the Foyle Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation, the Monument Trust, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, 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 scheme was reviewed in 2016 and will be relaunched in autumn 2017

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

Awards grants to record offices and libraries in the UK that offer public access and are not directly funded by the government, including local authorities universities and specialised record repositories. Grants are towards the cost of repair, binding and conservation and preservation of manuscripts which in the opinion of the Trustees are of historic or educational value and towards the cost of first stage listing but not for capital cost or equipment. Projects which are solely digitisation are not eligible for support


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 – increasing life chances for young people, green communities and supporting families. 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 – projects that conserve historical buildings, monuments and collections; also encourage projects that promote awareness either by making collections more available or by supporting academic research and ones that improve access.
  • See also AIM Collections Care Audits and Remedial Conservation Grant Scheme
  • See also National Cataloguing Scheme
  • See also National Manuscripts Conservation Trust

Postcode Community Trust

To support organisations to deliver on initatives that benefit communities through grass-roots sports, arts, recreation and wellbeing programmes which improve a community’s physical and mental health. Funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery

Sage Foundation

Open to applications that will deliver real change to young people, women and military veterans, whilst also supporting your organisation to thrive. Will fund capital, core, equipment and project costs. Projects must address health & wellbeing, education, diversity and inclusion or entrepreneurship. First round applications now closed, check website for deadlines for further rounds

Sainsbury Family Charity Trust

The Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts is the operating office of 17 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

Scottish Power Foundation

Provides funding to registered charities and non-profit organisations for the purposes of the advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science, education, environmental protection, citizenship and community development

Sylvia Waddilove Trust

Grants to charities for projects relating to the trust’s priorities, including the preservation of buildings of architectural or historical significance

The Textile Society

The Textile Society Museum, Archive and Conservation Award – awards of up to £5,000 for a textile related project within the museum, archive or conservation sector.

Transform Foundation

Provides the initial funding to small and mid-size charities to help them prove the potential of online marketing as a way of recruiting donors, volunteers, campaigners, or helping beneficiaries. Generally fund organisations with an annual income of between £350,000 and £30million per year; will shortly be announcing programmes for smaller charities, with less sophisticated requirements for funding:

  • Facebook grants – funding of up to £5,000 for Facebook advertising, with free additional agency Facebook Advertising managed service through a technology grant partner, who can create the content, deploy and optimise the adverts
  • Website grants – funding of up to £18,000 to cover the strategy, design, build, content strategy, training and launch of a new mobile optimised website, with sophisticated marketing, fundraising, appeals, social media, e-commerce and website management tools

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

Funded by Arts Council England. 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. Items to be bought at auction are also 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 National Cataloguing Scheme





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

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