Funding sources

Sources of funding and support for the North West – COVID-19
Details correct June 2021

This document updates our usual sources of grant funding for museums, with details of responses from the funders to the COVID-19 situation, and indicates where standard funding streams are still running as usual and open for applications, or new funding streams have been introduced to respond to COVID-19.

Please refer to websites for up to date information on deadlines, timetabling and grant conditions. Some of the funders are signatories to a joint funder statement coordinated by London Funders to reassure grant holders so the full statement has not been reproduced each time here. Read the full statement here, but also check individual websites for additional information relating to the specific fund and COVID-19 responses.

Changes to normal funding offer due to COVID-19 is indicated in dark blue.


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. Upcoming deadlines for the CPD grants are 1 June and 13 September 2021.
  • Conservation Training Scholarships – contribute to the cost of attending full-time conservation training courses. The deadline for 2021/22 academic year application is 1 June 2021.

The Trust may consider deferring the grant if Covid-19 restrictions mean you are unable to begin or continue your course. For more details see the Trust’s Covid-19 update.

Architectural Heritage Fund
To promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK

  • Transforming Places Through Heritage supports projects that will contribute to the transformation of high streets and town centres in England helping them become thriving place, strengthening local communities and encouraging local economies to prosper (part of the Future High Streets Fund, alongside Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zones). For individual heritage buildings in, or transferring to, community ownership. Supports charities and social enterprises to develop projects with the potential to bring new life to high streets by creating alternative uses for redundant or underused historic buildings in town centres:
    • Project Viability Grants – up to £15,000 for early viability and feasibility work, open now for applications
    • Project Development Grants – up to £100,000 for capital project development costs, open now for applications
    • Crowdfunding Challenge Grants – up to £25,000 to match fund crowdfunding campaigns, open now for applications. Please note the additional guidance and supplementary questions.
    • Transformational Project Grants: up to £350,000, for transformational capital projects, currently closed for applications.
    • Community Shares Booster Grants: Apply here.

AHF aims to continue assessing and awarding grants as advertised. If you have a query regarding an application, please contact them on 020 7925 0199 or email If you are a grant or loan recipient and have a query, please contact your AHF Officer.

Art Fund
Providing museums and curators with funding for acquisitions, training and development, and the display of art through tours and exhibitions

  • 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
  • Reimagine Grants – new project grants which aim to help organisations as they reimagine their activities following the pandemic. They offer support to build expertise, capacity and connections within and outside the sector.
  • 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. There are two categories of grant available: £200-£2,000 and £2,001+. The last large grant (£2,001+) application deadline is 22 September 2021.
  • Student Opportunities – a grant to pay the students and receive support in recruiting candidates from the Fund’s network of students.
  • Weston Loan Programme – grants of £5,000-£25,000 for museums and galleries to borrow works from national collections.
  • Museum Development Network – a new funding partnership with the Museum Development Network (MDN) to reach museums across all nations of the UK who have not yet received emergency grants or smaller museums fulfilling specific cultural or local needs. Launching soon with more information available via the MDN.

Arts Council England

National Lottery Project GrantsNational Lottery Project Grants are open for applications. Until August 2021, the fund will focus on:

  • Applications from individual creative practitioners
  • Research and development activity
  • Organisational development activity
  • Live activity that aligns with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown
  • Activity that aligns closely with ACE’s Equality Objectives.

Developing your Creative Practice – supports individuals who are cultural and creative practitioners and want to take time to focus on their creative development. Round 11 will open for applications on 5 August 2021.

Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND) – capital grants of between £50,000 and £5 million to non-accredited museums based in England.

The grant range is £1,000 – £100,000 and is open to individuals and organisations. To view the latest regarding the fund and how it relates to Covid-19, please click here.

Arts & Culture Finance by Nesta

  • Arts & Culture Impact Fund – a new fund which offers loans between £150,000 and £1 million repayable until May 2030.
  • Arts Cultural Impact Development Fund – loans between £25,000 to £150,000 repayable for up to five years.
  • Arts Impact Fund – this fund is currently closed.

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

  • Major projects – maximum grant £20,000. The grant from the AIA must be a significant part of the total project cost, not just a small contribution to a very large project, so that the AIA grant has real impact. The AIA would not normally fund projects where our grant represents less than 20% of the total project costs
  • Small projects– which are allocated at least 20% of the available funds. The grant limit is £7,500, for which the total cost of the project, excluding the value of volunteer labour, must not exceed £10,000.

The closing date for all applications is 31 March in each year.

Association of Independent Museums (AIM)
Membership network for independent museums, galleries and heritage organisations across the UK. Administers grants for museums to help AIM members with a variety of needs including training, conservation, development and exhibitions

  • Training Grants – support member museums in developing the skills and expertise of their staff and trustees. The maximum grant is £300 and applications must be submitted by the end of the calendar month.
  • Biffa Awards History Makers – grants to museums, galleries and cultural facilities so that they can tell the stories of some of our lesser known historical figures. Expressions of interest currently closed.
  • Collections Care & Conservation Grants – funded by the Pilgrim Trust, next deadline 30 September 2021
    • Collections Care Audits – run in partnership with ICON to enable small museums to undertake a basic professional collections care audit
    • Remedial Conservation Grant Scheme – funds conservation of accessioned objects
    • Collections Care Scheme – supports projects to help museums develop a more sustainable approach to the conservation and management of collections through improvements to collections care
  • Hallmark Grants – identify and promote the typical characteristics of successful heritage organisations. Applications currently closed.
  • New Stories New Audiences – projects that result in a wider range of people being involved in heritage at your organisation. Open to all AIM members in the small museum category (up to 20,000 visitors). Fund is due to open on 30 June 2021.
  • Source of information for COVID-19 resources including details of government support available for museums and HR advice –

Beecroft Bequest
Administered by trustees appointed by the Museums Association, provides funding for acquisition of pre-19thcentury works. Institutional members can apply for grants of up to £10,000.

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 awarded of £15,000 to £25,000

See London Funders statement.

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, mainly for capital projects
  • Clore Learning Spaces – funds museum, gallery and heritage learning spaces

Applications for both grants are currently closed while the trustees review their strategy for 2021.

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

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

See London Funders statement

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund (administered by the Museums Association) – supports a range of projects that bring collections closer to people. See for further details. The grants are usually awarded twice a year in spring and autumn. In 2021, they will be offering two funding streams for collections engagement, both offering grants of up to £90,000 over around two years. Expression of interest deadline is 13 September for awards in December, following a two-stage process.

Foyle Foundation
Independent grant making trust for UK charities

Main Grants Scheme – the scheme supports charities registered and operating in the United Kingdom with a core remit of the Arts or Learning. The scheme will focus on covering core costs and will favour organisations with no, or without significant, public funding. Major Capital Requests will remain suspended until autumn 2021.

Small Grants Scheme –this Scheme is designed to support charities registered and operating in the United Kingdom, especially those working at grass roots and local community level, in any field, across a wide range of activities. Online applications can be accepted from charities that have an annual turnover of less than £150,000 per annum. Charities can apply for between £1,000 and £10,000. There is no set deadline for applying.

All current grant recipients will continue to be supported by the Foundation.

All pending applications are being processed on a case by case basis.

See London Funders statement

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. Grants typically range from £200-£20,000.

Garfield Weston Foundation
Revenue, project and capital grants in the following categories

  • Museums and 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
    • Regular Grants – under £100,000

There are not set deadlines for applications, which are assessed on a regular basis and dealt with in order of receipt.

See London Funders statement

Granada Foundation

Provides grants to encourage the study and appreciation of fine arts and sciences in the North West, looking for imaginative proposals from organisations which will in some way make the North West a richer and more attractive place in which to live and work.

The Foundation has announced that the date of the next meeting to consider applications will be on Thursday, 29July 2021.

UK’s leading grants and policy database

The Grocers’ Charity
Grants of up to £5,000 for UK charities for conservation of historic buildings, conservation of historic objects or paintings, arts projects engaging with marginalised audiences for the appreciation of arts, performances or exhibitions

See London Funders statement

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
  • Arts education/outreach and access to the arts for disabled and disadvantaged people
  • Headley Museums Archaeological Acquisition Fund


  • Vocational training in 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
  • Support for carers of older people (local & national)
  • Projects that support disadvantaged families and young people

See Sainsbury Family Charity Trusts below

Henry Moore Foundation
Henry Moore Grants support exhibitions, exhibition catalogues, commissions, conferences, research, fellowships, publications, residencies and the development of collections through acquisitions, conservation, cataloguing and display

  • New Projects and Commissions – grants up to £20,000 for exhibitions, exhibition catalogues and sculpture commissions
  • Acquisitions and Collections – grants up to £20,000 for museums and galleries to acquire and conserve sculpture for their collections
  • Research and Development
    • Long Term Research Grants – available to organisations only, these grants support extended research projects requiring funding for more than one year, e.g. a permanent collection catalogue. Grants can be awarded up to £20,000
    • Research and Travel Grants – aimed at individual academics (post-MA), curators and scholars, grants support research into the history and interpretation of sculpture. Will support funding towards research costs, including travel, photography and archival access. The maximum grant is £2,500
  • Conferences, lectures and publications – This grant category provides support for books, journals and conferences on the subject of sculpture. The maximum grant available is £5,000.

The Foundation will endeavour to maintain its support for projects irrespective of such changes caused by coronavirus. The 2021 deadline date for applications will be on 2 September and 2 December.

Heritage Funding Directory

Managed by The Heritage Alliance and the Architectural Heritage Fund, the Heritage Funding Directory is a free guide to financial support for anyone undertaking UK related heritage projects. This is a useful starting point for navigating funding sources in the sector and it is recommended that you visit the funder’s website directly to explore the latest information.

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

Still open for business and will continue to support you whether you’re a grant recipient or currently liaising with Historic England teams about developing your project or grant application. Will be contacting all recipients of grant funding to provide reassurance, this will include flexibility regarding timetables for delivery on projects where required. If you have immediate concerns about the impact of Covid-19 on your grant funded project, please get in touch with your individual project contacts. See individual schemes for further details or click here.

2020-21 grants – HE anticipates that grant funded projects are likely to experience delays. Please be reassured that grants will continue to be paid at the agreed milestones. They may be able to amend these milestones to assist cash flow issues, and can extend grant contracts for projects that are affected in order to allow them to be completed as planned. To discuss any of these issues or amendments to your project and grant contract please contact your HE grant contact after the end of the financial year.

Historic 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. Usually make grants to projects which are ready to begin but will also consider seed funding to kick start a project.

All travel bursaries and grants are on hold until further notice due to the travel restrictions in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will reopen the schemes as soon as possible.

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 – projects that aim to conserve historic or artistically important objects and works of art including artefacts, textiles, furtniture, metalwork, manuscripts, wall paintings, tombs and stained glass of high quality

See London Funders statement

The next open round for our Arts and Conservation funds will be later in 2021. The Trust will publish more information in Summer 2021 with anticipation that decisions will be given in November 2021.

Institute of Fundraising
Professional membership body for UK fundraising. Website contains resources and guidance for heritage organisations and charities, including COVID-19 specific information (click here to view).

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

Now includes lists of funding available for charities during the COVID-19 pandemic, information and advice, and support for Locality members. To view, please click here.

Merseyside Funding Information Portal
Database of Merseyside-specific funding

Museums Association

  • Museums Association Benevolent Fund (merged with the Trevor Walden Trust in 2015) provides funding for
    • Covid Support Scheme – grants for members whose finances have been affected by Covid-19
    • Support for Professional Development
    • Financial Support Fund – alleviating financial distress suffered by past or present members of the Museums Association and their immediate dependents
    • Inclusive event places – free places for one-day conferences for members facing barriers to access.
    • Inclusive membership – funded memberships for individuals facing barriers to entry.
  • See also Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund
  • See also Beecroft Bequest

National Heritage Memorial Fund
The National Heritage Memorial Fund has been awarding grants to safeguard the UK’s most important heritage since 1980.

From 1 June 2021, the Fund began using a new grant portal, any applications made after this date must use the new portal.

COVID-19 Response Fundlaunched in June 2021, this funding stream offers project grants to support any heritage asset which is:

  • of outstanding importance to the national heritage
  • at risk due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19)

This funding is available until the end of April 2023. There are no deadlines for applications.

Note, NHMF operates as a fund of last resort, so you are asked to show that you have explored, or are exploring, all other possible sources of funding.

National Lottery Heritage Fund

  • National Lottery Grants for Heritage 2021-22 – applications are now open for grants from £3,000 to £5m. The NLHF have revised their approach due to Covid-19 and will prioritise projects that will:
    • Boost the local economy
    • Encourage skills development and job creation
    • Support wellbeing
    • Create better places to live and work
    • Improve the resilience of organisations working in heritage

National Manuscripts Conservation Trust
Helps preserve important manuscript and archive collections by awarding grants for their conservation. Applications accepted from non-national archives and record offices, as well as specialist libraries, universities and museums.

They have two deadlines for applications each year: 1 April and 1 October (or nearest working day where these fall at the weekend).

Paul Hamlyn Foundation
The foundation is focussed on supporting social change. Relevant schemes include:

  • Arts and Access Participation Fund – grants from £30,000 – £400,000 and lasting between 12 months and 4 years. Rolling application cycle – no deadlines
  • Arts-based Learning Fund – grants from £30,000 – £400,000 and up to two or three years. Rolling application cycle – no deadlines
  • Teacher Development Fund – aimed at supporting delivery of effective arts-based teaching and learning opportunities in the primary classroom. Grants up to £150,000 over two academic years. One deadline per year in the autumn

See London Funders statement

Pilgrim Trust
Favours giving to organisations where relatively modest grants will make a significant impact. Committed to preserving the UK’s unique heritage for the benefit of future generations. Part of that heritage lies in physical objects such as buildings, artifacts and recorded information such as manuscripts or books. The main emphasis is on projects that conserve historical buildings, monuments and collections; also encourages projects that promote awareness either by making collections more available or by supporting academic research and ones that improve access.

  • 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
  • Social Welfare Programme – will be reopening July 2021
  • See also AIM Collections Care & Conservation Grants
  • See also National Manuscripts Conservation Trust

See London Funders statement

The Trust would like to be able to maintain grant payments at originally-agreed levels, so please talk to the Trust if you think you may experience difficulties achieving some of the outcomes originally agreed for the grant. The Trust will be flexible about deadlines, and will be reasonable if you need to move money between budget headings to ensure your work can continue. The Trust are available if you want to talk to them about the situation you’re facing, email whoever normally deals with your grant.

Sainsbury Family Charity Trusts
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

See London Funders statement

Will continue to support organisations they fund through this uncertain time, their funding is flexible and intended to help you deal with challenges.

SFCT understand that it might be difficult for you to meet the outcomes of your grant when staff and volunteers will not be available, events or meetings may need to be cancelled, and services need to be provided in different ways. SFCT are interested to hear about this as part of your regular reporting, but you don’t have to take the time to tell them about it now unless a chat would be helpful.

Please let them know by phone or email if they could help by moving payment or reporting dates, flexing timeframes for delivery of outcomes, adapting activities, or anything else.

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 bought at auction are also eligible.

Wolfson Foundation
Aims to improve the civic health of society mainly through education and research, specifically supporting excellence in the fields of education, science and medicine, health and disability, and arts and humanities.

All of the Foundation’s capital funding programmes have now reopened to new applications. They have also increased their budget for 2021 and are reviewing their strategy in light of Covid-19.

Continuing to administer grant processes and procedures as normal. Please talk to the Foundation if you are concerned that your project may need to change, or cannot go ahead as planned. The Foundation are happy for reporting to be postponed while more urgent priorities are addressed.

Grant payments can be claimed in the normal manner. Please be assured that the Foundation manages its investments and reserves carefully for the long term, and is able to honour all grant commitments.

 See London Funders statement

One Reply to “Funding sources”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: