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30 March 2022

Grants up to £1.5m for regeneration of Scottish heritage areas

HES has announced the launch of its Heritage & Place Programme

A row of traditional shopfronts in Falkirk

A new place-based funding programme offering grants up to £1.5m opens for expressions of interest today (Wednesday 30 March), Historic Environment Scotland has announced. 

The new Heritage & Place Programme is an area-based funding programme that aims to contribute to the development of vibrant and sustainable places in Scotland through community-based regeneration of the historic environment. 

Heritage focused schemes that are located within conservation areas or distinctive heritage areas will be supported through the programme. Grants, which will typically be between £750,000 - £1.5m, will support a combination of activities including the repair and reuse of historic environment assets, training to strengthen local traditional skills, and building capacity within communities to value and look after the historic environment in the long-term. 

The Heritage & Place Programme will replace HES’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) which ran from 2007 to 2020. This follows a review that HES carried out of its grants programmes to update and streamline its existing grants through the development of a new framework to guide future investment. The Heritage & Place Programme is open to local authorities, national park authorities and not-for-profit organisations. 

As part of the new programme, a two-stage application process has been introduced which includes a match-funded development phase to encourage strategic, high-quality schemes with meaningful community involvement. Schemes will also no longer need to be located within defined conservation areas, and conditions for third-party grants have been revised to ensure that requirements for funding are proportionate and provide further opportunities for participation.  

Requirements for traditional skills training and material audits have been strengthened, and a stronger focus is being placed on developing strategies to ensure successful management and maintenance on completion of the scheme. 

As part of the new approach, applicants to the Heritage & Place Programme will also be encouraged to apply for area-based funding under the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Grants for Heritage programme. HES and the Heritage Fund will work together to consider applications and will be hosting joint engagement sessions in April and May for applicants to find out more about the programmes. 

Amy Eastwood, Head of Grants at HES, said:

“Through CARS, we awarded over £52m to over 70 schemes across Scotland, bringing over 1,000 historic buildings back to life while supporting traditional skills training and encouraging community involvement.  

The Heritage & Place Programme builds on this success while streamlining the application process, providing further opportunities for participation and ensuring key aspects, from community involvement to traditional skills training, are strengthened to align with our current policy. 

“Heritage-led regeneration and the reuse of historic buildings have the power to transform places and generate long-term social and economic benefits.  

“Schemes accepted onto the programme will involve partnerships of a local, regional and national level to revive heritage areas based on a shared vision. Communities will be placed at the heart of each scheme to ensure their involvement throughout the process, as well as empowering them with the long-term aspiration of looking after their historic environment. 

“By partnering with the Heritage Fund and taking a collective approach to our area-based funding programmes we hope to support applicants maximise their funding opportunities as well as encourage high-quality, sustainable development plans for Scotland’s places.” 

Commenting on the announcement, Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “We’ve been investing money raised through the National Lottery in Scotland’s historic towns and villages for over 25 years and we’ve seen first-hand the incredible difference it has made to local communities.  

“Heritage and culture give a place a unique identity, making it special for the people that live there. We’re delighted to work in partnership with HES to offer funding which will help to repair and protect the historic core of a place.

Local communities building local plans around heritage can have a powerful effect not only on local pride, but on local economic prosperity too.”  

Since HES was established in 2015, it has distributed approximately £81.5m in grants using Grant in Aid provided by the Scottish Government. 

Culture Minister Neil Gray said:

“We welcome the more streamlined and community-focused funding programme Historic Environment Scotland has announced today for heritage and conservation areas.  

In particular, the Heritage and Place programme will enhance community involvement in the regeneration projects that are funded in their area, encouraging a sense of community and place through investment in the sustainability of their shared heritage.”  
Find out more about the Heritage & Place Programme

To find out more or to book a place on the engagement sessions hosted by HES and the Heritage Fund, email: grants@hes.scot

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
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For further information, please contact:

Stacey Shaw
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Mobile: 07221 959 962