Please note that the Architectural Heritage Fund supports projects UK-wide and although eligibility criteria are broadly consistent across the UK, grants budgets and funding priorities may differ between individual nations and may change over time as special programmes come to an end and new programmes are launched. It is advisable, therefore, to speak to your local officer before making an application.
Before you apply
What sort of projects are you looking to fund?
As the Architectural Heritage Fund, there has to be a historic building involved in whatever we support. We generally look to support projects where there is a change of use or change of ownership involved with the building – such as bringing something disused back into use. We don’t prioritise just basic repairs or maintenance – there has to be a step change in how the building is going to be used to support your community.
Can I apply as a private owner?
No. Only charities and social enterprises are eligible for our funding, as well as the lowest tiers of local government. Please refer to the eligibility page.
What counts as a historic building?
If your building is nationally or locally listed, in a conservation area, or otherwise formally identified as being as historic merit, that is straightforward. If it’s not listed, you will need to explain why it is of importance to the history of your community.
We generally look to support projects involving buildings, rather than historic structures – so we don’t usually fund monuments, ships, piers, railway lines, or archaeological ruins. If you are unsure, consider if what you want to do involves using the building to do something, rather than just repairing it for its own sake.
How do I know if my project is eligible?
Firstly, take a look at the type of not-for-profit organisations we can support on the eligibility page. Then, you should submit the short project enquiry form outlining the proposal and the support you require. Your local officer will provide advice on whether we can consider your proposal.
Do you require match funding?
Usually this is not needed for Project Viability Grants. We normally expect some match funding to be raised for Project Development Grants (at least 10% match is required for projects in England). This can either be from your organisation’s reserves or from other sources. You can use the UK-wide Heritage Funding Directory to help identify possible funding sources.
Do you accept in-kind contributions as match funding?
Generally, we prefer cash match funding. However, if it is genuinely in-kind contributions for example, a trustee who is a chartered accountant providing their professional expertise to help progress the project, then this could be acceptable.
How do you decide what projects to fund?
We generally consider applications by considering the heritage merit of the building and its condition, the social and environmental impact of what the project is hoping to achieve, the financial need of your organisation and we also consider if there are any urgent factors as to why the proposed work needs to happen now.
Do you fund repairs and maintenance of buildings?
Through our grant programmes, generally no – most grants are for work required before the construction phase of projects. Costs for capital repairs can be included in applications for Crowdfunding Challenge Grants in England and for some programmes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but on-going maintenance costs are not a priority. Our loans can also cover capital repair costs.
Do I need to have applied for and completed a Project Viability Grant before I can apply for a Project Development Grant?
No but to be eligible for a Project Development Grant you should be able to show in your application that your project is ‘broadly viable’. We ask you to provide evidence such as a feasibility report, viability appraisal or outline business plan to support that. This does not have to be a project viability report funded by AHF.
Can I apply for more than one grant for the same project?
Yes, up to the overall maximum amount for that grant type in the country the project is based in (e.g. £100,000 for Project Development Grants in England) but each application will be assessed on its own merits and additional grants are not guaranteed to projects previously supported.
Do I need to have quotes before I apply?
You do not have to before you apply but it is recommended good practice to do so. If you obtain at least three quotes this helps to ensure that the costs in your application are accurate and represent good value for money. If a grant is awarded, competitive tenders will be required to be obtained where the fees of a professional or the cost of an item will exceed £10,000 but it is advisable to do so for pieces of work below that cost threshold.
When will I get a decision?
Decisions on grant applications made under the Transforming Places through Heritage programme in England are made every three months. Application deadlines are set out on our website here. If you're applying in Wales or Northern Ireland for up to £10k, or in Scotland for up to £20K, decisions are usually made within 6 weeks. If you're requesting over these thresholds, then decisions will be taken at quarterly Grants Panel meetings. Please refer to the application deadlines page.
When will I receive the grant?
Our grants are usually paid in arrears – this means you must have done the work, or incurred the expenses involved, before we can pay out. We can only pay for work that is done after the date of our formal offer letter. Although we don’t normally pay up front, we can consider advance payments in certain circumstances – for example, for new or small organisations with limited cash flow. Speak to your local AHF officer if you would like to request this.
How quickly do I need to spend the money?
If a grant is awarded, the offer will stand for one year from the date of the grant offer letter – this is the grant expiry date. The work being claimed for must have taken place (the invoice must be dated) before the grant expiry period. You must submit your claim for payment of the grant before the expiry date.
How do I claim the funds?
So long as you submit your online grant claim form by 15th of the month with all the relevant evidence of expenditure (e.g. invoices or payslips) and outputs (for example, reports or plans), then we aim to pay by the first week of the following month. The ‘How to claim your grant’ guidance note provides more details on this. (Note that there is no payment run in December).
Do you review the project viability report or other documents supported by the grant before the final payment is made?
Yes, the officer who assessed your grant application will normally be the one who reviews the report produced as a result of that funding. We will want to ensure that the content covers the areas set out in the project viability report template and that it is a fair and independent assessment of the project’s viability. The officer will also want to see evidence of the specific elements we have funded being incorporated into the report (eg condition surveys, market research etc).
Can I re-apply for the same project if my application is turned down?
Possibly. You should contact your local officer in the first instance to discuss the reasons why the application was unsuccessful. We will try to explain why your application was not successful, and if there is anything you can do to improve the chances of success in the future.