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Government unveils details of Cultural Recovery Fund

The Government has released details of how organisations can apply for £880 million in grants from August as part of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

As part of the Culture Recovery Fund, grants of up to £3 million will be made available to “protect important cultural assets and ensure arts and heritage continues to play a key role in levelling up the country. Commenting on the announcement, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden asserted that “Help is on the way to our much loved cultural and heritage organisations" adding that the package will "protect buildings, organisations and people to help ensure our wonderful institutions, big and small, pull through Covid.”

The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England will deliver £92 million worth of grants to protect heritage sites. The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage will support organisations that were financially sustainable before Coronavirus, have exhausted all other financing options, and are now at risk of failure. The fund opens for applications this week and closes at midday on 17 August.

Conservators and conservation work are specifically mentioned as being eligible. The guidance states that "for profit businesses that are a vital part of the heritage ecosystem and who generate the largest portion of their income from heritage work" are included, such as "conservators, contractors, specialists and suppliers." 

The Heritage Fund's guidance lists examples of conservation-related work that can be considered:

  • essential costs to protect your heritage, for example, site security, maintenance, environmental monitoring for collections
  • stabilising heritage that is at immediate risk, for example, scaffolding or urgent conservation work
  • temporary storage for collections, artefacts and documents, including necessary secure transport or insurance
  • costs to help you transition out of the mothballing period, including hiring staff

Icon welcomes the funding for conservation, which can be seen as a direct result of Icon's recent lobbying for support for conservators.

Arts Council England will also oversee £500 million to support institutions across the arts and cultural sector including museums in two rounds. The first round opens to applications from 10-21 August and the second from 21 August to 4 September. 

DCMS outlined that successful applicants for grants will need to have an innovative plan for how they will operate and be sustainable for the remainder of this financial year, and be able to demonstrate their international, national or local significance. Smaller organisations must show how they benefit their local community and area. The funds are only for organisations in England.

You can find information about the grants on the Arts Council and Heritage Fund websites. The Heritage Alliance has produced a summary of the suite of grant schemes and the Arts Council has also published a blog and an easy read summary of its elements of the Government's Culture Recovery Fund. 


In Scotland, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced a new funding stream for the independent museums sector to help bolster resilience. The £4 million Museums Resilience and Recovery Fund will provide support for Scotland’s museums and galleries and will be administered by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS). The fund will aid the return of staff from furlough and the wider reopening of museums and galleries.  


Details of similar schemes in Wales can be found here.


Image: Creative Commons



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