The Heritage Lottery Fund is changing

Many of our churches have received large grants from the National Lottery’s Grants for Places of Worship programme.  This programme was for urgent repairs to the fabric of listed buildings, and in recent years up to 15% of the grant could be used for new works such as kitchens and toilets.  This programme is now closing, with the final application deadline 14 August 2017.  If you are not already in the process of applying for a grant under this scheme it is very unlikely that you will be able to get a credible application in before that deadline.

Two new programmes

Our Heritage provides grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 and Heritage Grants are £100,000 and over, with no upper limit.  The primary purpose of these grants is to make a difference to people’s lives, and to make a difference to the heritage of England.  If you simply want to repair the fabric of your church building and leave it at that you won’t be offered a grant.

HLF say that the new system is more flexible.  The application process has been simplified, with a one-stage application for the ‘Our Heritage’ programme.  You are now eligible if your building is not listed.  However these programmes are not limited to places of worship and they will be very competitive.  Applications will need to be very good to succeed.

For smaller projects Sharing Heritage is available for amounts between £3,000 and £10,000.


Understanding these is vital if you want your application to be successful.  HLF describe the difference they want to make to heritage, people and communities through a series of outcomes.  ‘Outcomes’ are the changes, impacts or benefits which will happen as a result of your work.  HLF have a list of 14 outcomes, for people, for heritage and for communities.  If you are applying for a grant under ‘Our Heritage’ you are expected to achieve a minimum of 1 heritage outcome and 1 people outcome.  If you are applying for a ‘Heritage Grant’ you are expected to achieve a minimum of 1 heritage outcome, 1 people outcome and 1 community outcome.  The more of these you can achieve, the stronger your application will be.  The outcomes are:

Outcomes for people:

People will have

  • Learnt about heritage
  • Developed skills
  • Changed their attitudes and/or behaviour
  • Had an enjoyable experience
  • Volunteered time

Outcomes for heritage:

Heritage will be:

  • Better managed
  • In better condition
  • Better interpreted and explained
  • Identified/recorded

Outcomes for communities:

  • Negative environmental impacts will be reduced
  • More people and a wider range of people will have engaged with heritage
  • Your local area/community will be a better place to live, work or visit
  • Your local economy will be boosted
  • Your organisation will be more resilient.

HLF believe that there are real benefits to this approach to funding:

  • There will be a structure to help develop the project
  • It will help you explain what difference your project will make
  • It will provide a framework for measuring success
  • Helps you demonstrate impact.

They say that this funding strategy will bring a greater emphasis on active learning and public engagement, but acknowledge that places of worship will need some support – HLF development officers are happy to support churches in preparing their applications, and once grants have been made they actively encourage including support to help with the delivery of the projects in the costings for the application.

At present there are a number of priority areas where HLF are willing to offer extra help.  In Canterbury Diocese these include Swale, Thanet, Dover and Shepway.

More information and/or help:

Heritage Lottery Fund website:

There is an online community with a lot of useful information where you can ask questions:

The HLF Development Officers for the South East are Joseph Minden ( and Judith Carruthers (

As always, a lot of useful information can be found at

Contact Liz Mullins ( or Charlotte McCaulay ( or phone Diocesan House 01227 459401.  We are here to help with any aspect of finding funding for churches and parishes across the Diocese.