Applying for HLF grants
Grants are available for places of worship from HLF. The best place to start is on the HLF website, at https://www.hlf.org.uk/looking-funding/what-we-fund/buildings-and-monuments/places-worship. Do read that material carefully, including the ‘Questions’ section. There is a lot there. Note: on 8 Sep 2017 HLF circulated two pdf documents which seem to us to contain much the same information as is on the website; but if you prefer the pdfs, here they are: Accessing National Lottery funding for places of worship – FAQs and How to access National Lottery funding for places of worship
HLF staff have a reputation for being helpful, and we recommend the earliest possible contact. A list of HLF offices may be found at https://www.hlf.org.uk/looking-funding/where-we-fund.
The remainder of this page mentions particular issues that we are aware of, and which might be helpful after you have read the HLF material.
How far down the road before applying (posted 5 Sep 2017)
We asked how far down the road a place of worship needed to be before applying for a Our Heritage grant (up to £100k). One of our members had been told that if work to the fabric was involved, it was normal to be at RIBA Stage 3 when applying. Unfortunately at the meeting HLF were not willing to commit to this position, and were not able to give guidance on the matter. Our advice is that if you think you may wish to apply for a Our Heritage grant for work to the fabric, ask your local HLF team at what RIBA stage your Our Heritage application should be made at. You should, of course, ask this question as early of possible, as it will affect your entire plan of work and need for upfront funding and obtaining permissions.
Proportionality of non-heritage outcomes (posted 5 Sep 2017)
At our meeting, we were pleased that HLF stated unequivocally that the non-heritage outcomes for a grant are expected to be proportional to the scale of the grant being sought. (A non-heritage outcome might, for example, be ‘people have learnt about heritage’.) Everything else being equal, smaller grants require less in the way of non-heritage outcomes. As this is nowhere stated in the ‘Application Guidance’ documents produced for the various HLF grant programmes, we were delighted to hear this.
Note: since our meeting, HLF have put up a link to a blog written about Cathedrals roughly a year ago, which makes this point helpfully and clearly about cathedrals. In providing the link, HLF explain that it applies also to smaller places of worship. Go to https://www.hlf.org.uk/looking-funding/what-we-fund/buildings-and-monuments/places-worship and scroll down until you find Questions, and click on ‘Caring for Divine Heritage’. We think you should read this blog alongside the other relevant material on the HLF website and the Application Guidance for the scheme of your choice.
Comparison with other organisations (posted 5 Sep 2017)
At our meeting, we were also pleased that HLF stated that they took in to account the nature of the organisations involved when comparing one grant applicant with another. For example, a place of worship offering a ‘people have learnt about heritage’ outcome would be judged less onerously than a museum offering the same type of outcome, because the museum exists for this very purpose. This is nowhere stated in the ‘Application Guidance’ documents produced for the various HLF grant programmes, so we were pleased to hear this.