Heritage Funding: Where to begin?
Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square. Source: Le Lay Architects
It is hard to know where to start when looking for funding opportunities for a heritage project. Historic England Grants or the Heritage Lottery Fund are the most well-known sources for such funding, mainly because of the large number and contributions they offer, but there are many other organizations and trusts that can help fund a heritage project.
Private individuals or commercial enterprises have a disadvantage as most of the help available is aimed at not-for-profit organizations. The Country House Foundation is one exception, offering grants up to £250,000 towards the preservation of historic buildings and gardens as long as it provides public benefits (this means that the building should offer some kind of public access or public use – e.g. a wedding venue).
Available funding is in fact largely dependent of the type of building or site in question. The Heritage Funding Directory is one of the best free on-line databases that helps you find the right types of funding for your project. Funding Central is another database of grants, contracts and loans you could apply for but, unlike The Heritage Funding Directory it is not only aimed at heritage projects and is not free.
Occasionally the grant and loan bodies expect that some percentage of your project is self-funded. Local fundraising and crowdfunding projects may help get your project off the ground. Not only that, it also helps create a strong community around it. Local community support will have a considerable positive impact on your project and greatly improve the chances of you getting funding. There are several crowdfunding platforms available – Crowdfunder is one of the most popular. The decision of which platform to use is, like the funding bodies, linked to the type of projects to be carried out. Dig Ventures for example, is a niche one, focusing only on heritage and archaeology projects. In addition to crowdfunding it also helps to crowdsource your project – meaning that people get involved by donating money or by offering their time and skills by actively taking part in archaeological digs.
If you are the owner of an historic property or a not-for-profit organization connected to a heritage site in need of funding and you do not quite know where to start, Heritage Help has a lot of helpful information about the planning process, available funding or organizations you can contact.
If you wish to discuss your specific project, or for further assistance, please contact us here.