This fund is now closed.
About the Historic Environment Recovery Fund
The £2.6m Historic Environment Recovery Fund will support Scotland’s historic environment sector to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. The fund aims to support organisations to remain solvent, safeguard jobs and training opportunities and ensure that historic buildings and sites can re-open to the public. It will also invest in urgent repairs and maintenance, helping to generate work for specialist contractors and the wider heritage economy.
Funding for the Historic Environment Recovery Fund comes from the £97 million UK Government consequentials to help Scotland’s culture and heritage sectors weather the effects of COVID-19. Historic Environment Scotland is administering this fund on behalf of Scottish Government.
Overview of the fund
This fund supports organisations within Scotland’s historic environment sector which were financially viable prior to COVID-19 and are now at risk of failure or unable to resume operations or activity. By historic environment sector, we mean organisations which look after, safeguard and promote historic buildings, structures, monuments and other sites created by people, as well as traditional skills and intangible elements associated with Scotland’s historic environment.
Grants are available under two funding streams for costs to be incurred before 31 March 2021, with the aim of helping to address immediate needs relating to re-opening to the public; protecting jobs, capacity and skills; and enabling organisations to undertake planning to regain longer-term financial sustainability and adapt to new ways of working.
- Stream 1: Re-opening Historic Buildings and Sites
- Stream 2: Sector Resilience and Recovery
The fund is open for applications between 12 October and 2 November 2020. Applications will be assessed as they are received, and we will aim to take decisions within four weeks.
Grants between £10k and £100k are available to cover costs to be incurred between your grant award date and 31 March 2021. Exceptionally, larger grants may be awarded. Please note that we expect this fund to be oversubscribed and therefore do not expect that it will be possible to fund all requests. We also reserve the right to award an amount lower than requested.
2 Who can apply?
The Historic Environment Recovery Fund is open to not-for-profit and private organisations which are operating within Scotland’s historic environment sector and are based in Scotland. All organisations must be able to demonstrate that their work delivers significant historic environment outcomes. Please see below to find out which funding stream(s) your organisation can apply to. It may be possible for some organisations to apply to more than one funding stream.
Stream 1: Re-opening Historic Buildings and Sites
This funding stream is open to organisations which manage historic buildings and sites that are normally open to the public at least 28 days per calendar year. This includes buildings or sites that attract visitors as well as those which are open to the public for specific purposes. You may apply if your building or site is currently closed or partially open, and you are seeking to re-open more fully by April 2021.
Stream 2: Sector Resilience and Recovery
Sector Resilience and Recovery is open to any organisation which delivers significant outcomes for Scotland’s historic environment – ensuring that it is understood, valued, cared for and enjoyed. For example, this includes organisations which look after historic environment assets, training and outreach organisations and specialist contractors.
If delivering historic environment outcomes is just one of several areas of work you are involved in, the amount of funding that can be offered will be proportionate to your organisation’s historic environment related activity. Private organisations applying under this stream must be able to demonstrate that they are a critical part of Scotland’s historic environment sector.
Essential criteria for all applicants
In addition, all applicants must:
- be able to demonstrate that their organisation was financially viable (or taking clear steps to achieve financial sustainability) prior to the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020
- have had the financial viability of their organisation put at risk due to COVID-19
- be seeking funding to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
- to ensure the future sustainability and resilience of their organisation
- to prevent loss of jobs, skills opportunities or volunteer capacity
- to protect the sustainability of a significant historic environment asset
- be formally constituted
- have been delivering historic environment outcomes in Scotland since before 1 April 2019
We cannot accept applications from:
- individuals not classed as sole traders
- organisations based outside of Scotland
- local authorities, local authority trusts, universities and other public sector bodies that manage historic environment sites
- organisations which have already received funding from the following culture recovery funds (unless they are applying to cover additional costs relating to repairs, maintenance, mothballing or adaptions with regards to a significant historic environment asset):
- Museums & Galleries Scotland’s Resilience and Recovery Fund (if you are not sure whether to apply under the HES or MGS scheme, please contact us/MGS to discuss before applying)
- Creative Scotland’s Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund, Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund, Grassroots Music Venues Stabilisation Fund or Independent Cinema Recovery and Relief Fund
- The Pivotal Enterprises Resilience Fund
Organisations which have received funding from the Third Sector Resilience Fund or Creative, Tourism and Hospitality Hardship Fund may apply for support for a period that falls outside the support already provided.
Organisations which have received funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund may apply for support for costs not already covered by this fund.
3 Eligible costs
What we can fund
Guidance on eligible costs for the two funding streams is provided below:
Stream 1: Re-opening Historic Buildings and Sites
- Equipment to enable you to operate according to government guidelines relating to COVID-19 (e.g. PPE for staff and volunteers, signage, contactless payment technology, protective screens, cleaning equipment and products)
- Minor physical adaptations to enable compliance with government guidelines on COVID-19, for example:
- temporary building works to enable compliance
- changes to visitor circulation routes
- adapted ventilation arrangements
- temporary toilets or shelters for queues
- Urgent, one-off repairs or maintenance required to enable historic buildings or sites to re-open to the public. Repairs should normally be carried out on a ‘like for like’ basis and to a good conservation standard. A description of the condition of the structure (with photographs) will be required, as well as details of the proposed works and how they will be delivered. Examples of eligible works include:
- maintenance tasks including inspections
- small repairs following inspection
- rhones and downpipe issues causing saturated walls
- leaking valley gutters and parapets
- repainting external woodwork
- slate or roof covering defects
- stone repairs to weakened elements such as copes, skew putts, chimneys and other required weathering details
- grounds maintenance
- vegetation removal
- response to weather damage or vandalism
- Other essential works and checks to enable re-opening, for example:
- M&E system checks and subsequent repairs
- fire protection and alarm checks
- recommissioning costs for heating and compliance checks on water and other services
- Where it is not currently viable to re-open, or operations are temporarily reduced, we may be able to cover costs associated with protecting historic buildings or sites while options for future sustainability are considered. Possible eligible costs include:
- security improvements and monitoring
- temporary subdivisions for fire risk management
- increased insurance costs due to reduced/closed nature
- boarding or temporary protection of vulnerable elements such as windows
- support for interim arrangements to avoid plant shutdowns
- decommissioning plant and equipment/services
- costs of inspections or on-site security
- grounds maintenance
- Relevant training for staff or volunteers
- Activities aiming to re-engage communities and volunteers with their local heritage sites as they re-open, helping to boost wellbeing and volunteer capacity
If you are applying to undertake any physical works under this funding stream, please note the following important information:
- To ensure deliverability, works requiring statutory consents, permissions or licences will only be eligible if these can be secured in time to allow completion by 31 March 2021. Please see our consents and permissions guidance.
- We can only fund physical works if the applicant organisation:
- owns the heritage asset, or
- holds a full repairing lease with at least 21 years to run, or
- in the case of a scheduled ancient monument, has the written permission of the owner to carry out conservation works
- in the case of a place of worship, has written permission of the governing body.
Stream 2: Sector Resilience and Recovery
- Essential operating costs (e.g. salaries, rent, utilities, rates or insurance) required to enable your organisation to remain solvent and/or protect existing jobs or skills training posts (e.g. historic environment skills apprenticeships or traineeships). You will need to be able to demonstrate that you do not have sufficient reserves to pay these costs in accordance with your organisation’s reserve policy (or to maintain 12 weeks of reserves).
- Business planning activities to help your organisation adapt to the impacts of COVID-19 and become more resilient in the future, for example:
- professional advice in the areas of business and financial planning
- investigating new approaches to fundraising or income generation
- exploring options for working, merging or sharing resources with other organisations
- training staff, volunteers or board members in new ways of working
- investigating new ways of engaging audiences
- Investment in additional space or equipment to enable continued delivery of existing traditional skills training activities in line with social distancing requirements.
- Developing new ways of delivering existing historic environment skills training courses (e.g. online) to ensure that people can continue to participate.
What we cannot fund
- costs that are eligible to be covered by government support schemes, such as furloughing and rates relief
- retrospective payments for costs incurred prior to your grant award date or any costs you will incur beyond 31 March 2021
- anything that contravenes Government advice on COVID-19
- recoverable VAT
- a sum to cover lost income or re-inflate reserves above what is required to cover essential operating costs up to 31 March 2021
- repayment of loans taken out post March 2020
- repairs and other works relating to movable heritage assets
4 How to apply
Before you apply
Please read all sections of this programme guidance carefully before you apply.
Due to the timescales of this fund, we are not operating a formal expressions of interest process, but you can contact us at email@example.com if you have questions about eligibility or how to complete the application form. If you are not eligible for funding, we may also be able to signpost you to other forms of support. Please provide a telephone number in your email if you would like us to call you.
Making an application
Applications must be made via our online application form. Please note that as you will not be able to save your application form and return to it later, we recommend that you read the application questions and prepare your answers before starting work on your online application. After submitting your application form online, you will need to send the required supporting documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org (please note that your application will not be accepted without the required supporting documentation).
The following supporting documents are required for all applications:
- Your most recent audited financial accounts (if your last set of signed accounts is more than 15 months old – based on the Balance Sheet date – please also submit a draft set of your latest accounts)
- A completed Grant Expenditure Template
- A completed Cashflow Template
- A completed and signed HERF Declaration Form
If you are applying for funding for urgent repairs or maintenance under Stream 1: Re-opening Historic Buildings and Sites, please upload a completed Condition and Works Template.
When to apply
The Historic Environment Recovery Fund will accept applications between 12 October and 2 November 2020 (until 11.59pm). Applications will be assessed as they are received, and we will aim to take decisions within four weeks.
How much to apply for
Organisations should apply for grants between £10k-£100k (inclusive of all requests made under the two funding streams). In exceptional cases, larger grants may be awarded. There is no partnership funding requirement for this fund.
5 Criteria for awarding grants
How we will assess applications
Due to high demand for funds, we are unlikely to be able to fund all requests and may need to award a lower amount than has been requested. Applications will be prioritised using the criteria outlined below.
All applications will be assessed against the following criteria:
- The impact of your organisation
We will prioritise organisations which make a significant contribution to delivering outcomes for Scotland’s historic environment – ensuring that it is understood, valued, cared for and enjoyed – and maximising the wider benefits it can deliver for society, the economy and the environment. We will ask you to outline the impact your organisation makes in these areas so that we can better understand what the impact of the loss of your organisation or a reduction in its activity would be.
- Financial viability prior to COVID-19
We can only support organisations which were financially viable, or taking clear steps to achieving financial viability, prior to COVID-19. We will use the information you provide to assess this.
- COVID-19 impact
We will ask you to explain how COVID-19 has impacted on the financial position of your organisation to better understand why our funding is required. We will want to know how this has impacted on your ability to operate, re-open, safeguard jobs and training. If you are looking to carry out repairs and maintenance, we will ask you to explain how COVID-19 has affected your ability to undertake these on schedule.
- The difference our funding will make
We will ask you to explain the difference our funding will make in terms of your ability to re-open your building or site to the public, the sustainability of your organisation and the impact on jobs and training opportunities.
- Your plans for financial sustainability
We will assess whether you have a clear plan in place to work towards financial sustainability beyond 31 March 2021.
If you are applying under Stream 1: Re-opening Historic Buildings and Sites, we will also consider the following:
- The heritage significance of your building or site
In addition to considering how the proposed activities will help you to re-open, we will also assess the heritage significance of your building or site. This assessment may be informed by formal designations as well as information provided by you about how the heritage asset is valued by the community.
If you are applying under Stream 2: Resilience and Recovery, we will also consider the following:
- The proportion of your income derived from the historic environment sector
If delivering historic environment outcomes is just one of several areas of work you are involved in, the amount of funding that can be offered will be proportionate to your organisation’s historic environment related activity. Private organisations applying under the this stream must be able to demonstrate that they are a critical part of Scotland's historic environment sector.
In the event of high demand, a number of balancing criteria – such as geographic spread, socio-economic indicators and organisation type – may be used to prioritise fundable applications.
6 If you are awarded a grant
Your first grant payment will be made upon formal acceptance of your award and terms and conditions and confirmation of bank details. Further information will be provided at this time about future grant payments.
If you are awarded a grant, you will be required to:
- Report to HES on your progress and provide evidence of expenditure of your grant
- Provide a report to help evaluate the impact of your grant
- Publicise your grant in collaboration with our Communications department
- Demonstrate commitment to maintaining any grant-aided repairs, other physical work or equipment
- Demonstrate commitment to embracing Scottish Government’s Fair Work Principles and practices in line with the advice on the Fair Work Convention
- Inform us of any significant changes that impact on your use of the awarded funds, which could result in grant recovery
- Retain financial and other documentation relating to the grant
- You may be required to sign a form confirming that you will comply with legislation regarding State Aid.
7 Other information
Please read our Grants Privacy Notice for more information about how we will protect your personal data and your privacy when you make an application under this fund.
State Aid rules are set by the European Commission (EC) for all member states. Ignoring the rules can lead to the EC viewing the aid as unlawful and possibly subject to repayment by the aid recipient. As a public body, Historic Environment Scotland grant funding originates from public funds (Scottish Government) and can therefore potentially be State Aid. Historic Environment Scotland therefore must be mindful of the State Aid regulations before awarding any funding or making any commitments relating to payments. Further details are available on the Scottish Government website.
If funding from this programme is deemed to be state aid, it will be granted through the General Block Exemption Regulations (GBER) and Article 53. We will also use De Minimis aid to support activities that cannot be assisted through the Block Exemption Regulations.
It is important that if required applicants provide full and accurate declarations in support of State aid assessments.
Changes to this guidance
We have developed this funding programme quickly to support the sector and will keep this guidance under review to ensure we are able to provide support where it is needed. We reserve the right to make changes as required and will provide updates via this webpage.
Due to the timescales of this fund, we will not be operating a formal expressions of interest process, but you can contact us at email@example.com if you have questions about eligibility or how to complete the application form. If you are not eligible for funding, we may also be able to signpost you to other forms of support. Please provide a telephone number in your email if you would like us to call you.