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£40m fund launches for at-risk heritage assets

Melanie May | 2 July 2021 | News

Whitby Abbey. Photo: Pixabay

A £40 million ‘fund of last resort’ has launched to help save nationally important heritage assets at risk of loss due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund’s COVID-19 Response Fund is open to applications from charities, not-for-profit and public sector organisations over the next two years. 

It is formed from £20million from National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) reserves, and £20million from the Government’s Cultural Asset Fund.


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A broad range of heritage is eligible for support from the COVID-19 Response Fund, from fine and decorative arts to museum collections and archives, historic buildings and land, and items of industrial, transport and maritime heritage.

Successful applications could include: 

The launch of the COVID-19 Response Fund comes as the National Heritage Memorial Fund marks its 40th year anniversary. Since 1980, NHMF has made over 1,370 awards totalling £368m in grants and loans. This has included funds to save historic buildings such as Gwyrch Castle and Wentworth Woodhouse, landscapes including Skokholm Island, paintings by Picasso and Titian and archaeological finds such as the Galloway Hoard. 

Ros Kerslake, CEO, the National Heritage Memorial Fund said:

“After an extremely challenging year across the heritage sector, the impacts of which will be seen for some time, I am delighted that the NHMF’s COVID-19 Response Fund is now open to safeguard and save the UK’s most important heritage assets in jeopardy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


“From today, organisations across the UK can apply for help with protecting assets at risk, from this fund which has been established with £20million of support from NHMF funds and a further boost of £20million from the Government’s Cultural Asset Fund, available to those in England.”

How to apply

Full COVID-19 Response Fund application guidance is available online. The fund will be open until the end of April 2023.