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Culture Recovery Funding Update - closing on 26th January

Churches are encouraged to apply to the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, for any relevant cost that could help manage the impact of the pandemic. 

Administered jointly by Historic England (HE) and the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), the fund is not intended to support major capital repairs, but there are numerous other costs that are applicable to places of worship.

The Fund closes on 26th January.

Any grants awarded will have to be spent by the end of June 2021.

Applications must be made via the online form on the Heritage Fund website.

The aim of the fund is to support heritage sites to transition from the challenging months of lockdowns and social distancing to resume business activity and welcome visitors back to heritage sites.  For churches this could mean:

Works to the building to allow re-opening

  • Testing and servicing of electrical installations, heating, gas, alarm systems etc.
  • Repairs necessary to the good operation of the building: clearing gutters, repairs of slipped tiles and similar works.
  • Cleaning works to make the building safe and welcoming.
  • Works to tidy and improve the welcome of the building and its churchyard/exterior setting,
  • Urgent repairs that total no more than 20% of your total grant request.

Works that will improve the environmental sustainability and welcome of the building

  • These could include works to reduce damp, fixing broken windows, replacing broken lights with LEDs, and tackling bad draughts. These things make the building more comfortable and welcoming as well as ensuring it helps tackle climate change and has a more sustainable future.
  • Heating might not seem an obvious need in spring/summer, but we all know churches can still be chilly and some people, particularly those more vulnerable, may feel the cold. If, for example, you need to install a few heaters to make the building more welcoming, the costs could be eligible if the work can be done without damaging the heritage, does not constitute a major capital project and you make a strong case for the need and impact.

Works that will allow better access

  • Improving pathways and handrails
  • Installing hearing loops
  • Producing clear signage or improving existing signage
  • Installing a ramp or other access feature if this can be done without damaging the heritage and does not constitute a major capital project
  • Screens
  • Wifi boosters
  • Cost of a zoom account so you can continue with online activities
  • Contactless giving devices

Revenue Costs/Overheads

  • You can apply to cover costs for the period April-June such as utilities, insurance and roof alarm.  Unfortunately, contrary to earlier advice, costs towards Parish/Ministry Share are not eligible.
  • Loss of key income from a fundraising event that was due to take place between April-June but you know cannot go ahead or will be severely impacted.
  • Costs of running community groups and projects e.g. utilities costs, costs of time, costs of specialist providers.

Staff costs for the relevant period April to June 2021

  • Project Lead to manage activities during April-June
  • Graphic Designer to develop interpretation panels
  • Website Designer to improve or create a new website
  • Improvements to your website and online presence, including improving or introducing social media profiles.
  • Community Engagement Officer to run an event and/or carry out surveys
  • Costs of community or visitor engagement exercises e.g. surveys and analysis to establish what is wanted from the church.
  • Fundraising Officer to look at new opportunities going forward
  • Development Officer to plan a project for the future that will result in improved engagement of people in the heritage.  Please note: this funding cannot support staff to write grant applications.
  • Costs of volunteer expenses for the relevant period.
  • Costs of training for staff and/or volunteers – for example, training in community engagement, volunteer management, fundraising, maintenance, use of social media etc…


Staff and/or equipment to help promote your church more widely in the local area in order to encourage visitors to return or attract new visitors.  This could include volunteer training in social media, development of a website, leaflets, posters etc…

Heritage Activities and Events

These could be online or ‘real world’ activities from tours, trails and open days, to talks, organ recitals and digital resources for schools.  We do not know how much the restrictions will ease during this period, so whatever you plan make sure you can deliver it in a socially distanced format.

Interpretation Panels

Installing something new or refreshing existing interpretation.

You will need to make the case that these activities would not be possible between April-June without support and that they will strengthen your organisation in the short and long-term as you recover from Covid-19.

Any costs incurred before 31 March 2021 and operating costs beyond 30 June 2021 will be ineligible.

Neither the NLHF or HE is able to offer specific help to individual applicants.  Webinars to help potential applicants have been recorded and will be available online very soon.

Full details about the funding and how to apply

Application Guidance from the Church Buildings Council

Please note, under the guidance for the question relating to ‘contribution to the local economy’, this guidance only refers to documents which support how churches contribute through social and community projects.  As this funding is focused on the heritage, you will also need to explain how your church contributes to the local economy through the heritage.  There are a couple of national documents you could refer to:

You might also find that your local Council has a strategy on heritage which highlights its value.

The important thing is to emphasis is that places of worship account for the greatest proportion of all grade 1 listed buildings in the country and they are free for all people to enter and enjoy.  They are by far the richest repository of social history in the country and are present in almost every community.  Also consider:

  • If your church benefits tourism in your area.
  • If your church benefits the appearance and character of your area, which influences people’s decisions to move to or locate businesses there.
  • The economic benefits associated with capital works, including restoration, repair and maintenance.

If you feel you would like to apply and would like some help, please contact Holly Isted or Sue Dickinson.



Page last updated: Friday 15th January 2021 3:04 PM
First published on: 15th January 2021
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