Grants and Funding

Historic Environment Grants Programme

Funding for projects and activities relating to Scotland’s historic environment

People getting a talk at Hepburn Doocot

1 Overview

The following pages include a summary of our Historic Environment Grants (HEG) programme. More detailed information about the programme can be found in the main programme guidance which can be downloaded from the Programme Resources section. 

We will be running an online information session on the 6 June 2024 (11:00 - 12:00) to talk about the HEG programme and the application process and there will also be the opportunity to ask questions.  If you would like to come along to this, please e-mail us at grants@hes.scot and provide us with your name, organisation (if applicable) and contact e-mail so we can add you to the invitation list.

Depending on your project, additional guidance has been produced for projects which involve any work to historic buildings, monuments or other structures (Guidance for Repair Grants and Annex: Advisory Standards for Repair Grants) or archaeology (Guidance for Archaeology Grants). These can also be downloaded from the Programme Resources section.

Please ensure that you read all guidance relevant to your project before submitting your expression of interest or application so that you are aware of our requirements and processes. 

Our Historic Environment Grants Programme (HEG) can support a wide range of projects which clearly relate to and will benefit Scotland’s historic environment. To be eligible, all projects will need to: 

  • clearly relate to a Scottish historic environment asset (tangible or intangible); 
  • be able to demonstrate how they will contribute to HES Grants Priorities; 
  • offer good value for money; 
  • be able to demonstrate that they are deliverable; 
  • have not started (unless discussed and agreed by HES Grants Team); and 
  • not already be funded by a City Heritage Trust or through any of our other funding programmes 

Depending on the type of historic environment asset your project relates to, there may be additional eligibility criteria to be met. Please check the Programme criteria section and the main programme guidance for more detailed information.

While the programme is open to all people and organisations to apply, it is our expectation that we will mainly support not-for-profit organisations. Private owners or commercial organisations are unlikely to be a priority for support unless they can demonstrate that the wider benefits to the public to be delivered from the project would significantly outweigh the private gain. 

More information on all programme criteria.

Projects that can be supported through the HEG programme should be focussed on an aspect of Scotland's historic environment, from the tangible (e.g. historic buildings, ancient monuments and archaeology, designed or cultural landscapes and historic gardens and battlefields) to the intangible (e.g. historic environment skills, stories and traditions). 

You can apply for funding for a project with one or several different component activities where they clearly link to the same main project 

Find out more about the types of projects and activities we can help to support. 

There are three different funding streams under the Historic Environment Grants (HEG) which are: 

  • Express Grants (£1,000 to £25,000) 
  • Small Grants (£25,001 to £100,000) 
  • Large Grants (£100,001 to £500,000) 

The stream that you should apply to will relate to the level of grant being requested, not the project cost. For example, if your project cost is £500,000, but your funding request to HES is for £100,000, then you should apply under our Small Grants funding stream.  

Before proceeding to submit an application, you will first need to have submitted and have approved an Expression of Interest on our Grants Portal  

More information on the funding streams, our application process and timeframes 

If you are awarded a grant under the HEG, you will be required to meet a number of conditions and fulfil specific reporting requirements.  

View our full programme guidance along with a number of other HEG resources. 

2 Programme criteria

Under the Historic Environment Grants Programme (HEG), we expect most applicants and grantees to be formally constituted and suitably experienced not-for-profit organisations (e.g., charities, local authorities, religious bodies).  

While private owners or commercial organisations are eligible to apply, they are unlikely to be a priority for our funding unless they can demonstrate that the wider benefits to the public to be delivered from the project would significantly outweigh the private gain.   

All applicants will need to submit financial information at application stage to demonstrate a clear financial need for grant.  

More information on this can be found in the Who can apply section of the main programme guidance. 

To be eligible under the HEG programme, your project will need to:  

  • clearly relate to an historic environment asset (tangible or intangible)
  • be able to demonstrate how it will contribute to HES Grants Priorities 
  • offer good value for money, with an appropriate level of match funding, either from your own resources or from other funders
  • not have started (unless discussed and agreed by HES Grants Team)
  • not already be funded by a City Heritage Trust (as their funding is via HES grants) or through any of our other funding programmes 

As an applicant, you will also need to meet the following criteria: 

  • be able to demonstrate a financial need for our grant
  • if you are an employer, you will need to demonstrate that you meet our Fair Work First requirements
  • for any projects involving physical work to a property, we will expect you to appoint a professional team led by an appropriately qualified Conservation Accredited Professional to oversee and manage the project
  • for any projects involving archaeological fieldwork, we will expect you to appoint a lead archaeologist who is a member of The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) to oversee and manage the project
  • for any projects involving work to a property or site, you will need to either be the owner or hold a full repairing lease which has at least 20 years to run. Where the asset is an ancient monument and is not within your ownership nor held by you under a long lease, in exceptional circumstances, we may be able to support a project where you have the written permission of the owner to carry out the work and to comply with the conditions of the grant contract (including an obligation to maintain and repair) throughout the control period. An Ancient Monument Third Party Owner Permission Letter template must be used in these circumstances and submitted to us at application stage. Before a formal offer of grant can be approved, an Ancient Monument Third Party Owner Letter of Consent will need to be completed. Templates for both letters can be downloaded from our Programme resources section.
  • For a place of worship not in your ownership, you must have the written permission of the owner (i.e., Church of Scotland General Trustees, denominational head) to carry out any work and to comply with the conditions of the grant contract (including an obligation to maintain and repair) throughout the control period. This permission will include confirmation from the owner that there are no plans for the place of worship to close in during the grant control period (up to 15 years). A Place of Worship Third Party Owner Permission Letter template must be used in these circumstances and submitted to us at application stage. If your application is successful, a Place of Worship Third Party Owner Letter of Consent must be completed.  Templates for both letters can be downloaded from our Programme resources section.

More detailed and project specific criteria can be found in the Programme criteria page of the main HEG Programme Guidance   

3 What we can fund

Your project can be focused on any aspect of Scotland's historic environment, from the tangible (e.g. historic buildings, ancient monuments and archaeology, designed or cultural landscapes and historic gardens and battlefields) to the intangible (e.g. historic environment skills, stories and traditions).

You can apply for funding for a project with one or several different component activities. There are no restrictions on how many activities you can apply for, but they must all clearly link to the same main project. If your project does contain different activities and your application is successful, it will not always be the case that we would support all of these, as some may not meet the programme criteria or our priorities.

The types of projects and activities eligible under the Historic Environment Grants (HEG) programme will vary and are likely to be time-limited with a defined start and end date. Some examples of typical project and activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Archaeological excavations and research
  • Repair and consolidation works
  • Interim works (max.£50,000 grant)
  • Skills and training
  • Outreach and learning
  • Interpretation
  • Maintenance and management plans

We can support eligible direct project costs and, for applicable third-sector organisations, we may also be able to support an appropriate level of indirect costs (full cost recovery) where there is a clear need for this to deliver your project.

For projects involving any repairs or interim works to properties, monuments or other structures we can only support the cost of those works outlined in our Advisory Standards for Repair Grants which can be downloaded from our Programme resources section.

Procurement

For the purchase of all goods, works and services with a contract value of less than £100,000 (excluding VAT) which are required to deliver your project, you must obtain at least three written quotes before appointing a supplier. You should provide a detailed report on the quotes you have received and evaluated, together with reasons for your decision on which to accept. Where you have been unable to achieve three quotes, you should discuss this with us first to see if this is acceptable. You will need to explain the reasons for the lack of quotes and provide compelling justification for proceeding with the quote you wish to accept.

For the purchase of all goods, works and services with a contract value of more than £100,000 (excluding VAT), you must undertake a competitive tender exercise in order to appoint a supplier. This should be advertised on Public Contracts Scotland and be based on a cost and quality approach to ensure that value for money is achieved. You should provide a detailed report on the tenders you have received and evaluated, together with your decision on which to accept.

The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 apply in certain grant cases and particularly where you obtain more than 50% of funding from public bodies. The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 may also apply. You must comply with all rules relevant to public procurement that are relevant to you and the Grant Funded Project.

How much grant can I apply for? 

The level of grant we can award to support a project will be determined by a number of factors, including applicant type, project type, eligible costs, match funding and value for money, with each application assessed on a case-by-case basis. Typical grant intervention rates for repair projects, based on applicant type are: 

  • Charities and not-for profit organisations: up to 40% of grant-eligible costs
  • Local authorities: up to 25% of grant-eligible costs
  • Private and commercial owners: up to 33% of grant-eligible costs

We may be able to make a higher percentage contribution for projects where there is a strong case for this. However, this is only in exceptional circumstances, and it is highly unlikely that we would award a grant of more than 50% of grant-eligible costs.   

Whilst the standard maximum grant request under the HEG is £500,000, larger grant requests can be considered in exceptional cases.   

Please read the What we can fund section of the main programme guidance for more information on what types of projects we can help to support, levels of grant funding and our grant-eligible and non-eligible costs.   

If, after reading our guidance, you are still unclear on whether or not we would be able to support your proposed project please enquire with us at grants@hes.scot   

4 How to apply

Expression of Interest 

All applicants to the Historic Environment Grants (HEG) Programme will first need to submit and have approved an Expression of Interest (EOI) on our Grants Portal. You will need to first register your name and organisation on the system before being able to access the EOI form. If you have any issues with registering, completing, or submitting this, then please contact us at grants@hes.scot  

You can submit an EOI at any point during the year, and we will aim to respond to you within 10 working days from the submission date.  Once submitted, your EOI will be allocated to a Grants Manager who will provide you with a response. This will either be to advise that a full application can be submitted; that more information about your project is needed, or that we have not approved your EOI to proceed to a full application. If we have not approved your EOI to proceed to a full application, we will offer you further feedback.  

If you are applying through either of our Small or Large Grant streams which has an application deadline, we would advise that you submit your EOI well in advance of this date to give yourself adequate time to complete your application and address any feedback provided in response to your EOI.  

Application 

If your EOI is approved, you will be invited to complete and submit a full application which will ask for more detailed information about your project. Depending on the grant stream to which you are applying, there are a number of supporting documents that you will be required to submit along with your application. These are listed in the Appendix at the end of the main programme guidance.    

More details on what information we ask for you to submit are included in the How to apply section of the main guidance. A PDF of all application questions is also available to download from our Programme Resources section  

Application timeframes

Express Grants (£1,000 to £25,000)

Stage Deadline Decision
Expression of interest Open all year 10 days
Application Open all year 6-8 weeks

Small Grants (£25,001 to £100,000)

Stage Deadline Decision
Expression of interest Open all year 10 days
Application 30 April; 31 August; 31 December 10-12 weeks

Large Grants (£100,001 to £500,000)

Stage Deadline Decision
Expression of interest Open all year 10 days
Application Application 30th June; 31st October; 28th/ 29th February 12-16 weeks

Application assessment 

For all applications, we will assess:  

  • the heritage significance of the asset;  
  • how well your project will contribute to our grant priorities;  
  • financial need and value for money; 
  • how well planned and deliverable your project is; and,  
  • for some projects, how you plan to sustain the project outcomes for the longer term.  

Depending on the type of project, we may also assess the urgency and level of risk facing your historic environment asset.  

For our Small and Large Grants streams, applications will be assessed through a competitive process with the decision timeframes determined by our internal assessment and decision-making process. Applications for Express Grants will be considered and assessed throughout the year.   

If your application is successful 

Successful applications for projects that do not include any physical work to an historic environment asset will be issued with a grant contract.   

For projects that do include physical work to an historic environment asset, if your application is successful then you will be issued with a letter confirming that it has accepted for full assessment. This means that your project will now go through our formal technical advisory process to agree the grant-aided scheme of work. Detailed information on this process is included in our Guidance for Repair Grants which can be downloaded from the Programme Resources section.

Once we confirm with you that the grant-aided scheme of work has been agreed, we will instruct you to submit a project development final report which will be completed on the Grants Portal and will provide us with an update on your project. This information will then be used by us to seek approval for a firm offer of grant.  

5 If you are awarded a grant

Grant contract 

If you are awarded a Historic Environment Grant (HEG), you will be required to enter into a formal legal contract with HES. Before making an application you are encouraged to read the example offer letter and all grant conditions applicable to your project which are available on the Programme resources section.   

After your contract has been issued, there are a number of documents that will need to be submitted before we can grant our permission to start. These will depend on the type of project and the level of grant being awarded.   

A project must not start until you have received your permission to start from us.   

If you are undertaking work to an asset, there will be a longer control period applied to your grant, during which you will be required  to meet the grant conditions. You will also need to submit an annual post-monitoring form for the duration of the control period to demonstrate that our grant conditions are being met. For grants of more than £50,000 to support projects which include work to an asset, it is also likely that you will need to deliver a Standard Security and/ or Conservation Burden. Standard templates for these documents can be downloaded from the Programme resources section.  

Please see the If you are awarded a grant section of the main programme guidance for more detailed information on what documents will need to be submitted and our legal requirements.  

Acknowledging your funding 

As part of the conditions of our grant, we will expect you to acknowledge the funding from HES in all publicity and promotional activities either in print or on social media. For projects involving work to an asset, you must also display a HES funding signboard for the duration of the project. More information on this can be found in the main programme guidance and on our acknowledging your funding page.   

Claiming, reporting and evaluation 

Our grant will normally be paid retrospectively and in line with the payment plan which relates to your project and the amount of grant awarded. To draw down your grant, you will need to submit a claim form, progress report, updated budget profile and any other requested documentation on our Grants Portal.  

Please see the If you are awarded a grant section of the main programme guidance for more information on our payment plans.   

To assist with programme evaluation, a Grants Data Report will also need to be completed on the Grants Portal at the end of your project or at the end of each financial year if your project is to be delivered over multiple years.  

Once your project is complete, a Final Progress Report must be submitted along with your final evaluation report and any other required documents before the final grant payment can be made.   

On completion of the project, if the project expenditure has come in under budget and/or more project funding became available then we may have to reassess and reduce our final grant award.  

6 Programme resources

In this section, you will find a number of documents that will help you in the development and delivery of your project as well as completing your funding application. We advise that you read through all relevant information carefully before making an application.  

Guidance documents 

Templates 

Grant Contract and Conditions 

Other (for information only)

Contact 

If you have any questions or would like further support in making an application for funding, please contact us on grants@hes.scot, and one of our grants team will be happy to discuss your proposals with you. 

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