Here’s our round up of news from the last week about COVID-19 relevant to the sector. 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 and advice (17th April)
National Lottery Heritage Fund – Heritage Emergency Fund (15th April)
£50million to support the UK heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus crisis. 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 is accepting applications for funding from £3,000 to £50,000. The application form is now open, deadline is 30th June 2020 but organisations can apply at any time. Demand is expected to be high and NLHF will prioritise funding against the criteria list below.
Applicants must meet the following three criteria:
- Not-for-profit organisations
- Current or previous recipient of a grant directly from NLHF (or formerly Heritage Lottery Fund)
- An owner, manager or representative of heritage, or be able to show you have delivered participatory heritage activity
Applications are not being accepted from:
- Statutory organisations e.g. local authorities, even if they have previously been funded by NLHF
- Organisations that have previously only received funding from NLHF for activity-based project grants £10,000 and under
- Organisations that have already accepted emergency funding from another National Lottery distributor
Organisations will be given priority that:
- Have limited or no alternative access to other sources of support, for example, from Governments, other National Lottery distributors, other emergency funding from trusts and foundations
- Have already tried other options to stop being at risk such as putting projects on hold, rephasing milestones, repurposing other funding to support day-to-day operations, minimising costs but maximising the function of existing projects (value engineering)
- Are in greater financial risk from COVID-19 due to a reliance on trading or community fundraising income streams
- Are in greater financial risk due to limited reserves
NLHF will also prioritise where:
- An organisation is contributing to its outcomes around economic regeneration, inclusion and wellbeing, as defined in its Strategic Funding Framework
- An organisation is working within one or more of the 13 Areas of Focus of NLHF identified in its Strategic Funding Framework
- Heritage is most at risk (see NLHF website for definition of ‘at risk’)
The Heritage Emergency Fund is short-term funding to support the immediate actions needed to stabilise operations and manage unforeseen risks. Grants will cover unavoidable costs organisations will otherwise be unable to meet for up to four months. You should only apply for essential costs.
As a guide you could apply for costs to:
- Stabilise your organisation in the immediate term to make sure the vital heritage you care for is not put further at risk by COVID-19 (for example, staff costs to allow you to respond, design and deliver plans)
- Help you plan and initiate mothballing of (putting aside or withdrawing from use) your heritage asset/s and other approaches to protecting heritage that is at risk
- Run immediate risk management reviews and the actions identified as needed to safe-guard your organisation
- Reconfigure business plans, governance and activity needed to help safeguard the future of your organisation
- Cover essential operational costs, for example, site security or maintaining climatic conditions for collections
Applications to the Heritage Emergency Fund are not through the usual portal. Applications have to be completed in one go; they can’t be started, saved and worked on at a later time. You might find it useful to see a copy of the application form questions to make sure you have all the information you need to hand before you start your application.
Decisions will be made within two to four weeks. If your application is unsuccessful you cannot resubmit. The Heritage Emergency Fund is open until June and funding will be allocated across the period, it won’t be front-loaded. The NLHF encourages organisations not to rush their applications. It advises them to read the application guidance carefully and make sure they are asking for the right support at the right time through the Heritage Emergency Fund. FAQs about the fund will be updated continually.
Arts Council England Emergency funding package for museums outside of the National Portfolio (16th April)
The first round of the fund has now closed for applications. The second round closes on 30th April. There will be no further funding from this fund after that. To apply 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.
ACE are continually updating their FAQs on their website to clarify eligibility.
Historic England Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund Resilience Grants (17th April)
Resilience Grants (part of Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund) will be used to support heritage organisations which are severely affected by the impact of coronavirus and which require additional short-term emergency financial support in addition to the support packages announced by the Government and/or Lottery channels. It will also support projects and activities that respond to the current crisis and contribute to recovery in the heritage sector.
Will prioritise support to organisations and projects that care for and/or work on the most significant heritage assets (Grade I and II* Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monuments, etc).
Criterion 1 – Emergency Revenue Funding: Applications for emergency revenue support from local or national heritage organisations where other Government and/or Lottery channels of support are not applicable, up to £25,000. Existing grant recipients should first approach English Heritage to discuss revenue under flexibility within existing grants (as a variation to these existing grants). To be considered for revenue support organisations will need to provide evidence that they do not have sufficient reserves to cover operational costs for the next three months, demonstrate that the coronavirus crisis is the principal reason for the revenue problem, and provide evidence that they have investigated other possible routes for grant funding, including other grant givers.
Criterion 2 – Projects and Activities: which respond to the current crisis and will contribute to the recovery of the heritage sector, grants up to £50,000. Applications invited from heritage organisations, self-employed contractors, third-sector organisations and voluntary groups across a range of activities. These projects might reduce risk to heritage caused by the coronavirus crisis by providing information, resources and skills to help understand and sustainably manage heritage assets now and in the future. They could allow us to understand the nature and degree of the additional threats to heritage as a result of the current crisis, understand which aspects of it are the most significant and most vulnerable, and develop creative ways to help us look after it. They might enable people to understand, value and enjoy the historic environment, perhaps through skills or engagement, either now during the current crisis, as we enter the recovery phase, or for future legacy. All organisations are eligible to apply.
Deadline for both funds is 3rd May.
MDNW Emergency funding bid writing support (15th April)
To help museums respond quickly with applications to the emergency funding programmes from Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund we are running a programme of support for non-NPO Accredited museums in the North West wanting to apply to either fund.
As part of the support we asked Laura Drane to create a summary document outlining what is available from both ACE and the NLHF, and a short video giving advice and further guidance on what is available.
To help you decide which funder is the right one for you, have a look at this simple flowchart created by West Midlands Museum Development, but please note that you need to contact MDNW if you’re in imminent danger of closing within 4-8 weeks.
To book one of the advice slots available (details of which can be found here), contact Alex Bird – firstname.lastname@example.org
Association of Independent Museums coronavirus resources (16th April)
AIM have a page on their website dedicated to coronavirus resources, including an update on the Job Retention Scheme, HR and insurance advice, and an offer of online advice surgeries to support museums during the pandemic. There is also a COVID-19 Checklist with actions to consider during this time.
DCMS Coronavirus bulletin 20200414 (14th April 2020)
Charity Finance Group – Coronavirus and your charity (16th April)
Includes update to guidance on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
HMRC gift aid rules (16th April)
The Gift Aid rules on donating refunds due on charity events that have been cancelled due to coronavirus have been relaxed. This will make it easier and quicker to Gift Aid donations back to charities.
Heritage Alliance Guidance and Funding Hubs (15th April)
The Heritage Alliance have created both COVID-19 Guidance and Funding Hubs of information on their website.
Small Charities Coalition (14th April)
The Small Charities Coalition has produced a guide to national, regional and local funders.
Esmee Fairbairn Foundation (14th April)
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is making an additional £16 million of funding available this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. £14million has been allocated in fast-response grants to be offered to some of the organisations they currently support. It is also making £2m available for contributions to emergency funding schemes in collaboration with others. It will share more details of its fast-response funding directly with organisations it supports in the next two weeks.
Museums Association Coronavirus: Organisational & Employment FAQs (9th April)
Understanding your financial situation
It is crucial that you know your financial situation and are able to articulate it to apply for emergency funding. Some resources that might help are: