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.


If you are responsible for a historic building or monument, we strongly recommend that you regularly maintain it. This will significantly reduce the long term cost of managing your asset and make it more resilient to challenges such as increases in energy costs and climate change. Well maintained buildings lose less energy and cost less to run. They, and well maintained monuments, are also more resilient to the impact of the extreme weather events associated with climate change.

In these days of reduced grant budgets, it also makes sense to take early action and avoid large repair bills.

We have produced some advice on maintaining your property which you can find here.

Historic Environment Fund

The Department’s principal means of providing support to you, if your heritage assets need repair or if you want to develop an idea to realise the wider value of our heritage, is through our Historic Environment Fund (HEF). This is divided into four streams: Research, Repair, Regeneration and Revival. Subject to confirmation of budgets, it is normally launched in May each year. Most streams are only open to applications for a limited time. We can only support expenditure carried out by 31 March. If you would like us to e-mail you when the streams are launched, please send your details to historicenvironmentfund@communities-ni.gov.uk.

The Repair Stream

Over the last two years we have focused our repair budget on essential work to roofs. This year we are also supporting work to windows. Though this is open to all listed buildings, our budget has been oversubscribed and we have had to focus support on our three priority categories: buildings on the Heritage at Risk Register; thatched buildings; and buildings with owners on eligible benefits. This year we are providing up to £6,000 per roof (£12,000 for thatched buildings). 126 applications were received. The stream is now closed. We are open a similar scheme in 2023, should budget be available.

The Regeneration Stream

This is a strategic part of the Fund mainly focused on supporting partners such as: Ulster Architectural Heritage, the Architectural Heritage Fund, and the National Churches Trust to develop projects to tackle Heritage at Risk and problems faced by historic churches.

For the past two years we have also provided support of up to £10,000 to district councils to encourage them to carry out a wide range of heritage development activity. This has proved popular, with around eight councils availing of the support each year.

Scheduled Monument Regeneration Stream

This year we have introduced a small scheme of up to £2,000 per project to help historic monument owners to carry out minor works. This is being administered by our Field Monument Wardens.

The Research and Revival Streams 

We have also provided some support this year for those interested in carrying out research and development activity. A fund up to £10,000 per award was available to 26 October. This stimulated a wide range of projects from stone and archaeological research to preparatory work for the 2023 Heritage Angels Awards. We may run a similar scheme again in future years.

Other support

Support for social enterprises/charities to tackle Heritage at Risk

Through the Regeneration Stream the Department supports the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) to work with communities to realise the potential of heritage assets. Its Heritage Transformed in Northern Ireland project includes funding to provide project viability and project development grants. 

Village Catalyst

The Village Catalyst grant scheme is a partnership initiative between the Department (DfC), the Department for Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF), and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE). Applications are invited from charities, social enterprise and other not for profit groups in rural villages of less than 5,000 people, who want to tackle rural poverty and social isolation in their area, by developing a sustainable use for a disused historic building in their village.

The programme builds on a three year pilot, which resulted in four projects being developed, highlighted in a short film.

To be eligible, the building must be listed or within a conservation area. The three available funding routes and details on how to apply are listed below: 

  1. Project Viability Grant – To carry out viability work, with support offered up to £10,000.  Please complete the enquiry form prior to making an application. This is a rolling scheme. More information on what this grant can fund is available.  
  2. Project Development Grant – To further develop your plans with support offered up to £20,000. For enquiries and applications for this scheme, please contact Villagecatalystsupport@communities-ni.gov.uk. Please note, this scheme will close once our available budget has been expended. Therefore, early application is recommended. 
  3. Delivery Grant – To deliver your project, with capital funding offered up to £200,000.  For enquiries and applications for this scheme, please contact Villagecatalystsupport@communities-ni.gov.uk. Please note, this scheme will close once our available budget has been expended. Therefore, early application is recommended. 

The scheme reopened to applications on 9 May. As awards are subject to available budget we recommend early submission of proposals.

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.

Community Ownership Fund

The Community Ownership Fund provides financial support to communities across the UK to take ownership of assets, amenities and facilities at risk of being lost but have value for the local people and place.

The fund invests in sustainable projects where community ownership of the asset or amenity makes the biggest difference to the local place, advancing the social wellbeing and interests of the community. Voluntary and community organisations are eligible to bid for match funding to save community assets and amenities and run them for the benefit of the local community.

Up to £250,000 is available per project. A total sum of £150m will be spread across the UK in multiple bidding rounds covering a period of four years from 2021-2025. The proportion of the overall fund for NI will be £4.3m. Groups who want to apply to the fund must do so using the online portal.

Funding for Places of Worship

Historic Environment Division (HED) 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, is running 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. £200,000 of further support for repair work was provided by DfC in 2021-22.

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.

Funding to deal with the impacts of COVID-19

The Department responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with support for the heritage sector in 2020 and 2021.

National Heritage Memorial Fund COVID-19 Response Fund

This support route remains open and offers project grants to support any heritage asset which is:

  • of outstanding importance to the national heritage
  • at risk due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19)

National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) can fund heritage projects of all sizes and there is no limit to the percentage of funding that can be applied for. However, NHMF operates as a fund of last resort, so you will have to demonstrate that you have explored, or are exploring, all other possible sources of funding, including your own resources. It is not open to  private individuals or commercial and for profit businesses. 

    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




    Related to Historic Environment Funding & Grants

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    How to request information from the Department for Communities including Freedom of Information (FOI) and the use of our Publication Scheme. You may also request your own personal information, via a Right of Access Request.

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