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Friday, 25 September 2020

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Historic England announces COVID-19 Heritage at Risk Fund

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HISTORIC England has launched a second emergency fund to support the heritage sector recovery from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The fund, which will be up to £3 million, will award grants to those who care for some of England’s most significant historic sites to help fund urgent maintenance, repairs and investigations where our support is most needed. The business generated will help heritage specialists, whose livelihoods have been severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Grants of up to £25,000 will be offered to fix urgent problems at locally-cherished historic buildings and sites which are normally visited by the public so that they can re-open as quickly as possible, subject to COVID-19 restrictions, and thrive once again. The funding can be used to address problems such as damaged roofs, masonry and windows, to hire scaffolding to prevent structural collapse, or commission surveys necessary to inform urgent repairs.

Historic England, which is responsible for protecting and championing the nation’s historic environment, has developed the COVID-19 Heritage at Risk Response Fund following its own comprehensive survey of heritage organisations. The survey revealed the serious impact of Coronavirus on the sector, and loss or postponement of work was the most commonly reported effect of the outbreak.

Those hardest hit were craft workers, like stonemasons and glaziers, and professionals such as architects and surveyors. More than three-quarters (78%) are facing the failure of their businesses and expect to cease trading by October without additional support. This fund will generate work for these professionals from early autumn and develop a pipeline of projects.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said:

“Informed by the findings of our survey, this emergency fund aims to generate new work for those professionals and small businesses most vulnerable within the heritage sector as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, at the same time protecting significant historic sites where our support is most needed. It is vital that we keep the wheels of the sector turning in order to protect livelihoods and save our heritage, which enriches people’s lives and is a source of national and local pride.”

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said:

“Our heritage is of huge national importance and we are absolutely committed to helping support our historic buildings, monuments and landscapes. This new fund, on top of unprecedented government financial support, will help to protect and preserve our heritage during this challenging time.”

APPLICATIONS

Applicants are invited to apply for grants of up to £25,000 towards a maximum project size of £30,000 for urgent minor repairs, maintenance or development works which must be started before 31 October 2020. The deadline for expressions of interest is midnight on 28 June 2020. Those successful at this stage will be informed by 27 July 2020 and invited to submit a full application by 31 August 2020.

Who can apply?

Owners, leaseholders (with a 21-year full repairing lease), and charitable bodies and trustees responsible for the maintenance and repair of:

Buildings and structures listed at grade I and II, that are publicly accessible for a minimum of 28 days per year

Buildings and structures listed at grade II that are publicly accessible for a minimum of 28 days per year only if they are situated in:

  • Either a conservation area and are a significant component of the character of that conservation area;
  • or in a grade I or II registered park and garden

Scheduled monuments that are publicly accessible for a minimum of 28 days per year

More information on eligibility and how to apply: https://historicengland.org.uk/covid-19-fund/

This is the second emergency fund from Historic England in response to COVID-19 and comes soon after a £1.8 million fund that is supporting 70 organisations to weather the crisis and aid recovery. Both funds are designed to complement the measures already put in place by the Government, as well as the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s recently announced £50 million emergency fund.

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