Grants and Funding

Grants Refresh

We are updating our approach to ensure it aligns with current priorities and meets the needs of applicants and grantees

a group of adults and children from Govan Heritage Trust standing and sitting outside a church

Historic Environment Scotland has distributed approximately £14m per annum in grants since it was established in 2015, using Grant in Aid provided by the Scottish Government. As the lead body for Scotland’s historic environment, we have used our expertise and strategic understanding of historic environment priorities to deliver a range of grant programmes focusing on different areas of activity aligned with our corporate priorities.

More than five years on from the last refresh of our grant programmes, we are reviewing and updating our approach, to ensure that our grants approach meets the needs of applicants and grantees and is aligned with current policies and priorities, including our Corporate Plan outcomes.

We have now introduced our new ‘HES Grants Framework 2021 Onwards’ which sets out our future approach and are currently working on implementing the changes outlined in this.

Current News

HES Grants Framework

Our ‘HES Grants Framework 2021 Onwards’ sets out our future plans and was developed following a series of internal and external consultation activities to ensure that it meets the need of our stakeholders, applicants and grantees as well as our own Corporate Plan outcomes.

The key changes will be:

  • The introduction of a set of six Grants Priorities to guide our grant investments
  • The streamlining of our current grant programmes, involving the introduction of a new ‘Open’ Programme (Historic Environment Grants) for project-based funding. This new approach will enable applicants to apply for capital and activity costs under one programme, rather than making multiple applications
  • Updated Guidance for Repair Grants to replace our current Advisory Standards of Repair
  • Allowance for applications requesting support for ‘interim works’ which need to be undertaken urgently to secure the future of highly significant heritage assets
  • A new requirement for all repair grants over £25k to produce a management and maintenance plan
  • The introduction of a new Partnership Fund to provide revenue support to organisations delivering key strategic outcomes which are aligned with HES’ policy aims
  • The launch of our new Heritage & Place Programme to provide funding support for Heritage and Place Schemes to replace our current Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS)
  • Operational improvements, including a new automated Grants Management System to streamline application, reporting and claim processes for applicants, grantees and HES staff

Public Consultation

To help to inform the development of the Grants Framework, we undertook a public consultation which ran for six weeks from 26 July 2021 to 6 September 2021. This was published on the HES website with over 300 stakeholders, partners, grantees, other funders and local authorities also contacted directly and invited to submit a response.

A total of 63 responses were received from a wide variety of stakeholders. Overall, the response showed that there are strong levels of support for the proposals outlined in the Grants Framework, including the newly proposed Grants Priorities, Historic Environment Grants (the new Open Programme) and the Partnership Fund. There were also some requests for clarification and suggestions for ways to improve our approach which we have addressed either in the final version of the framework and/or in the Public Consultation Report.

Overview of the consultation

Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) Review

In 2020, we appointed consultants to undertake a review of the impact of our funding in our area based Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) funding programme since it started in 2007.

The review both concluded and confirmed that the CARS programme has successfully supported heritage-led regeneration in Scotland’s conservation areas, and our stakeholders were unanimously supportive of the scheme and its achievements to date.

It was also evident from the review that some modifications to the programme would benefit future area based schemes, and these have been considered in the development of our new Heritage & Place Programme, which will replace CARS from 2022.

CARS Summary Review Report

Our New Heritage & Place Programme

Whilst many of the principles of the CARS funding will still apply in the new programme, the following key changes will be made:

  • Introduction of a two-stage application process with a match-funded Development Phase to enable the development of more strategic, higher-quality schemes with more meaningful community involvement
  • Removal of the requirement for schemes to be within defined conservation areas
  • Revised conditions for third-party grants to ensure that requirements are proportionate and do not present barriers to participation
  • A strengthening of requirements for traditional skills training and materials audits
  • A stronger focus on developing strategies to ensure successful management and maintenance on completion of the scheme

Our Heritage & Place Programme will open for expressions of interest (EOIs) on 30 March 2022. 

Find out more about the programme

If you have any questions about the new programme or would like to note your interest at this point, please contact us at

Next Steps

Following the launch of our Heritage & Place Programme, we plan to launch our Partnership Fund in Summer 2022 and our Historic Environment Grants Programme in Spring 2023.

Our existing programmes will continue to run in the meantime, and we will provide notice in advance of each programme launching.