Historic Environment Funding & Grants

Find out about the range of support available to owners and groups to repair, research, and regenerate historic buildings, historic monuments, and the wider historic environment...

The Department’s aim is to ‘help communities to enjoy and realise the value of our historic environment’. One way of doing this is through providing financial assistance.

Heritage Recovery Fund

The Heritage Recovery Fund offers grants to help heritage individuals, organisations or businesses impacted by COVID19 cover operating costs, assess and adapt their business models, and become financially viable. It is part of the Department’s Culture, Languages, Arts and Heritage Support Programme.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is administering the scheme on our behalf.

Who can apply?

This funding seeks to support the whole heritage ecosystem. It isn’t possible to list every type of organisation that makes up this broad and varied sector.  If you don’t see your organisation in the list below, we would still encourage you to make an application.

As a guide, organisations could be:

  • Not for profit organisations that manage heritage sites, venues or attractions.
  • Private owners of heritage sites, venues or attractions that are normally open to the public 28 days a year or more.
  • For profit businesses that are a vital part of the heritage ecosystem and who generate the largest portion of their income from heritage work, this includes conservators, contractors, specialists, suppliers and cooperatives
  • Universities and other public sector bodies that manage heritage sites, venues or attractions.
  • Organisations that manage culturally significant assets or collections.
  • Organisations that provide significant support to the heritage sector.


  • Organisations that manage heritage that is not in Northern Ireland.  If your organisation is based in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland and you manage heritage in Northern Ireland you can apply for a proportion of your organisation’s costs related to the heritage in Northern Ireland.  
  • Organisations that were not operating sustainably before March 2020.
  • Organisations that can apply for support from the Culture Recovery Fund through Arts Council Northern Ireland.

Apply for funding

Applications open on 2 November and will close midday on 27 November 2020. The grants must be spent by 31 March 2021.

Read the full guidance on HeritageFund.org.uk.

Community Heritage Fund

The Community Heritage Fund aims to use heritage to encourage renewal projects that will help communities deal with the impact of Covid19. It will support small-scale projects that connect communities to the heritage of their local area. The emphasis is on projects that encourage engagement with local heritage through place, including buildings, sites and monuments, parks and gardens. It is part of the Department’s Culture, Languages, Arts and Heritage Support Programme.

Also actively encouraged are projects that aim to find value in unexpected ways, and in places that aren’t ordinarily seen as historic, but which create stronger connections between heritage and local residents’ sense of place and community.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is administering the scheme on our behalf: Community Heritage Fund Northern Ireland 

Community Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund

The Community Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund offers seeks to support post Covid19 renewal by providing grants to community organisations to help them:

  • Support grassroots communities and those most marginalised, through engagement in community arts, culture and heritage projects and creative industries.
  • Respond better to new needs identified as a result of coronavirus, and where restrictions mean finding new ways of supporting vulnerable people, through encouraging access to the arts, culture and heritage, in particular for those with disabilities.
  • Support vulnerable people, to use arts, culture and heritage, to #build back better; ensuring organisations and individuals thrive and continue to provide longer-term support to communities in need

It will focus on community led responses that will:

  • Enhance existing community services and activities that support engagement in arts, culture and heritage for marginalised communities and communities of interest
  • Support innovation and creativity for those community organisations who support vulnerable people through engagement in the arts, culture and heritage
  • Encourage collaboration and strengthen collaborative responses to issues affecting those most marginalised in Northern Ireland, in particular those with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community, black, Asian and ethnic minorities, and those most at risk, including those suffering from domestic violence, and those living in poverty, rural communities, through arts, culture and heritage activity
  • Encourage adaptation, innovation and agility of the arts, culture and heritage sector, and ensure preparedness for the future

It is part of the Department’s Culture, Languages, Arts and Heritage Support Programme.

The Community Foundation NI (CFNI) is administering the scheme on behalf of Department for Communities.

Who can apply?

Constituted organisations with charitable purposes, operating within Northern Ireland can apply for The Community Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund.

Support for social enterprises/charities to tackle Heritage at Risk

The Department has supported the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) since 2016 to work with communities to realise the potential of heritage assets. Its Heritage Transformed in Northern Ireland project has included funding to provide project viability and project development grants. Further support has been provided in 2020/21 as part of the Department’s Culture, Languages, Arts and Heritage Support Programme.

Heritage Impact Fund

The Department has also provided funding to the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) to support it to provide loans to applicants in Northern Ireland seeking to ‘acquire, reuse or redevelop buildings which are of historic or architectural importance - these may be buildings which are listed, in a Conservation Area, or may be of special significance to the community. The end use should be financially viable and help support the objectives of the organisation and provide impact to or benefits for the communities in which the buildings are based.’

Funding for Places of Worship

Historic Environment Division has supported the National Churches Trust to develop a funding stream for churches in Northern Ireland. The project which is also supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the Pilgrim Trust, will run for three years from 2020 - 2023. Its aim is to make it easier for those responsible to look after church or chapel buildings. Grants for repairs and help and advice are available as part of the project.  Further support has been provided in 2020/21 as part of the Department’s Culture, Languages, Arts and Heritage Support Programme.

Listed Place of Worship Grant Scheme

The Listed Places of Worship (LPW) Grant Scheme gives grants that cover the VAT incurred in making repairs to listed buildings in use as places of worship. The scheme covers repairs to the fabric of the building, along with associated professional fees, plus repairs to turret clocks, pews, bells and pipe organs. The Scheme is run by a contractor for the Department of Culture Media and Sport. The scheme is currently funded until March 2021.

Historic Environment Fund

  • The Historic Environment Fund is not open to new applications in 2020/21.
  • Opened each year since 2016, it is aimed at: conserving heritage assets and increasing knowledge and public awareness of the historic environment. In 2020/21 projects in receipt of existing offers, but delayed by COVID19, have been extended and multi-year projects continued.

Village Catalyst Pilot

Historic Environment Division is currently working with colleagues in DAERA and the AHF to develop a new way to support communities to tackle social isolation and rural poverty in their villages by developing sustainable uses for heritage at risk. A pilot is currently under way. Prospective applicants have been identified based upon previous engagement with the AHF through their Heritage Transformed in Northern Ireland project. 

Other Sources of Funding

The Heritage Funding Directory is managed by The Heritage Alliance and the Architectural Heritage Fund, and provides a free guide to financial and other support for anyone undertaking UK related heritage projects. Organisations such as the Pilgrim Trust  and the Garfield Weston Foundation have a history of supporting work in Northern Ireland and may be willing to support suitable projects.

​The Directory’s entries cover historic buildings, landscapes, parks and gardens, churchyards and cemeteries, industrial heritage, archives, historic churches, museums, archaeology, environmental, heritage skills, conservation and more.

Other Historic Environment Information




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