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Carlisle City Council is providing local businesses with free access to its local business support and grant portal provided by Open4Business. This is tailored for the Carlisle area and includes local, regional and national schemes.

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Grants and Funding


Architectural Heritage Fund - Cultural Recovery Programme

22 October 2020/Categories: Grants_and_Funding

Grants are available for charities and social enterprises in England occupying historic buildings to develop new business plans and strategies in light of the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis.

Fund Information

Funding body:

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

Maximum value:

£ 50,000

Application deadline:



The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is an independent charity that promotes the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK by providing advice, information and financial assistance in the form of early project grants and loans for projects undertaken by charities and not-for-private profit organisations.

The new £1 million Cultural Recovery Programme has been funded by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as part of the Cultural Recovery Fund. It will be managed through a partnership between AHF and Historic England.

Objectives of Fund

The programme is intended to help previously sustainable organisations that care for, work with, or manage historic buildings to fund consultancy support to develop new operating models and business plans, where the impact of COVID-19 means the organisation is at risk of no longer trading viably by March 2021. The funding aims to enable organisations to achieve a clear plan towards future financial viability and help them remain resilient during a challenging time.

Value Notes

Grants of up to £50,000 per organisation are available (with potentially a further round to follow in early 2021).

Who Can Apply

Application will be considered from not-for-private-profit organisations or lowest tiers of local government in England:

  • Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIOs)

  • Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee

  • Not-for-private-profit Company Limited by Guarantee

  • Community Interest Company (CICs) Limited by Guarantee

  • Community Benefit Society

  • Charitable Community Benefit Society

  • Co-operative

  • Town/Parish/Community Council

  • Other

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be based in England.

  • Care for, work with, or manage a historic building or buildings

  • Be financially viable before March 2020.

  • Be still solvent but at risk of no longer trading viably as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Be looking for consultancy support to develop or refresh business plans or operating models.

Organisations which have been awarded a Historic England / National Lottery Heritage Fund Cultural Recovery Fund grant for the same work will not be considered. However, organisations can apply for funding for additional or complementary work for the same historic building and / or another historic building in their care.




The following are not eligible for funding:

  • A not-for-private-profit listed above which has been awarded a Historic England / National Lottery Heritage Fund Cultural Recovery Fund grant for the same work. However, funding may be awarded to additional or complementary business planning consultancy support for the same historic building and / or another historic building in their care.

  • Organisations, including not-for-private-profits, looking to wind down their trading or close.

  • Private individuals.

  • Local authorities or other public sector bodies (unless applying on behalf of an organisation still in formation).

  • Universities, colleges and other mainstream educational institutions, including independent schools.

  • For profit companies, unless in a partnership led by a not-for-profit organisation.

  • Unincorporated organisations (e.g. charitable trusts and associations) that are not intending to incorporate.

  • Organisations with less than three Trustees or Directors (if there are only three Trustees/Directors) none of these should be spouses or otherwise related to each other.

  • Limited liability partnerships.

  • Churches or other places of worship, where the building will remain in use primarily as a place of religious worship – defined as hosting more than six religious services a year.

Eligible Expenditure

The funding is to be used to commission specialist support from consultants to help achieve a clear adaptable and flexible plan towards future financial viability. This may be actioned through adapting the existing business plan or developing a new plan or operating model for the most cost-effective route to sustainability that will be viable beyond March 2021, with the aim of helping secure the building and the community’s interest in it.

Examples include:

  • Business planning consultants.

  • Marketing, digital outputs and social media consultants and associated costs.

  • Accounts and financial advisors.

  • Costs of community engagement work to gauge demand for proposed new uses or to advertise them to the community (e.g. outreach, pop-up events, consultations).

  • Costs of audience development work, including gauging potential for new tenants or types of tenants.

  • Legal costs where these are critical in establishing the viability of proposed new uses (e.g. advice on restricted covenants).

  • Specialist VAT advice to identify the most tax efficient approach to the project.

  • VAT costs that cannot be reclaimed.

  • Consultants that provide specialist advice on re-opening post COVID-19.

  • Fundraising Strategy consultants.

  • Organisational overheads capped at 20% of the award, to enable the organisation to spend the time necessary to engage properly with the business planning process.

How To Apply

The deadline for applications is 9 November 2020 (12pm) with decisions expected in early December 2020.

The guidance notes and online application form are available from the AHF website.

Payment Procedure

Grants can be paid 50% in advance with the remaining 50% paid once the work has been completed.

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