Funding for Heritage Projects

Funds for projects relating to the repair or regeneration of historic buildings may be identified through streams relating to: heritage; arts & culture; community development and the environment.  Every project is unique, availability of funding can be competitive and sources will dependent on whether a building is in the ownership of a private owner, a private developer or a building preservation or charitable trust. Key to the progression of a funding proposal is the vision and ambition of the owner/group, including activites that are going to happen in the building; whether there is identifiable need for the project and whether proposals indicate a sustainable, long-term re-use. 

*Please note this is not an exhaustive list of all funding available for the historic environment but a tool for raising awareness and signposting fund seekers in the right direction. 


 

UAHS: Directory of Funds for Historic Buildings

The Directory of Funds for Historic Buildings (2nd edition) brings together background information on those bodies and grant-making trusts that can specifically fund the repair and restoration of historic buildings in Northern Ireland.

This wide–ranging compilation, through its quick reference guide and easy–to–follow format, helps those interested in sympathetic restoration to navigate the all–important funding minefield. Each funding source examined is grouped according to its nature, be it public, private or charitable, or particular area of interest, and in all cases the nature of funding, geographical focus, and eligibility criteria are explored.  These are all searchable in the PDF version- DOWNLOAD A PDF COPY

Some of the main grant-giving trusts for historic buildings include: the Heritage Lottery Fund; Ulster Garden Villages; The Pilgrim Trust' The Headley Trust; Esme Mitchell Trust; Esmee Fairbairn Foundation; and the Sainsbury Family Trusts to name a few.  More information is available in the Funding Directory.

A hard copy of the directory is available free of charge from the UAHS office. By post, £4 is payable to cover postage, packaging and administration.The Buildings at Risk 'Success Stories' outline examples of specific project funding secured by individuals and groups to help with the restoration and reuse of some of our most vulnerable assets.


Funding for Private Owners: 

Department for Communities, Historic Environment Division: https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/articles/historic-environment-support 

Previously, the Department of the Environment, Historic Environment Division provided Historic Environment Fund for eligible works on Listed Buildings to private owners in Northern Ireland. Please note that this grant aid scheme is subject to funding availability and that application for 2016/2017 have now closed. For up to date information on the availability of grant aid please call the Historic Environment Division on 028 9082 3177 or visit the DfC website.

The Ecology Building Society: http://www.ecology.co.uk/mortgages/ 

The Ecology Building Society is a specialist mortgage provider, focusing on renovation or new build mortgages on properties and projects that respect the environment.  It is particularly interested in projects designed to bring derelict and dilapidated properties back into use. More information can be found on the Ecology Building Society website.

 


Funding for Private Developers and the Community:

Department for Communities, Historic Environment Division: https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/articles/historic-environment-support

Previously, the Department of the Environment, Historic Environment Division provided Historic Environment Fund for eligible works on Listed Buildings to private owners in Northern Ireland. Please note that this grant aid scheme is subject to funding availability and that application for 2016/2017 have now closed. For up to date information on the availability of grant aid please call the Historic Environment Division on 028 9082 3177 or visit the DfC website

Heritage Lottery Fund: www.hlf.org.uk

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Heritage Enterprise Fund supports enterprising community organisations across the UK to rescue neglected historic buildings and sites and unlock their economic potential. Historic buildings are known to attract thriving businesses, and yet many of them lie vacant and derelict. With a Heritage Enterprise grant you can breathe new life into historic sites by repairing, adapting and giving them a productive new use. By funding much of the repair costs we hope to encourage private developers to work with community organisations to deliver commercially viable schemes. More information can be found on the HLF website here.

 


Funding for Trusts & Charitable Groups:

Department for Communities, Historic Environment Division: https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/articles/historic-environment-support

Previously, the Department of the Environment, Historic Environment Division provided Historic Environment Fund for eligible works on Listed Buildings to private owners in Northern Ireland. Please note that this grant aid scheme is subject to funding availability and that application for 2016/2017 have now closed. For up to date information on the availability of grant aid please call the Historic Environment Division on 028 9082 3177 or visit the DfC website.

Architectural Heritage Fund: www.ahfund.org.uk

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a London based charity that can provide advice, information and financial assistance, in the form of grants and low interest loans, to Buildings Preservation Trusts and other charities undertaking work to historic buildings. They cannot help private owners, or buildings in continuing long-term ownership or use.  

The Architectural Heritage Fund has compiled a further useful source of advice and information, which should be of some relevance to Northern Ireland. The Funds for Historic Buildings website can be found at www.ffhb.org.uk.  The Funds for Historic Buildings website is also a useful source of information with a free searchable database as well as advice on how to maximise the chances of success when making a funding application. The Architectural Heritage Fund also provides certain funding for charitable groups and BPTs (Building Preservation Trusts): http://www.ahfund.org.uk/grants.php

 

Association of Preservation Trusts NI: www.ukapt.org.uk/apt-northern-ireland

The Association of Preservation Trusts (APT-NI) is a great support network for those charitable groups who are seeking to save, restore and reuse a building: http://www.ukapt.org.uk/apt-northern-ireland.html.  

 

Heritage Lottery Fund: www.hlf.org.uk

The Heritage Lottery Fund has a number of grant programmes that may be applicable to projects involving an historic building or area, such as a conservation area or public park. To be supported, projects must relate to the national, regional or local heritage of the UK and should aim to conserve or enhance our diverse heritage, encourage more people to be involved in their heritage and make sure that everyone can learn about, have access to and enjoy their heritage. Applicant organisations must be not-for-profit and can include charitable organisations, such as local community groups or building preservation trusts, ecclesiastical bodies, local authorities and partnerships. Further information on current HLF programmes can be found on the HLF website: www.hlf.org.uk

The HLF Townscape Heritage programme is for schemes which help communities improve the built historic environment of conservation areas in need of investment across the UK.  The funding enables local THI groups to work with property owners and the local community to regenerate historic buildings specifically in Conservation Areas.  More information is available on the HLF website here. The Heritage Lottery Fund also has a grant scheme to help with repairs to listed places of worship.  

 

NICVA & Fundraising NI: www.nicva.org & http://www.fundraisingni.org/

The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) is a further useful source of advice and information on grant giving trusts. They have an extensive Grant Tracker funding database which lists different types of funding out there for communities and charities- www.grant-tracker.org.  Further details can be obtained through the NICVA website.

Associated with the NICVA grant-tracker is the Fundraising NI website which provides further advice on community fundraising and grant-makers. For further information see: http://www.fundraisingni.org/

 

Community Foundation for NI: http://www.communityfoundationni.org/Grants/Space-&-Place 

The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland currently runs the Space & Place programme which supports local communities to use their underused spaces and buildings for the good of the area. By reclaiming and transforming derelict and neglected spaces and places, local people can improve their local environment and provide a range of activities that will encourage more people to play a part in their communities.  More detailed information can be found on the Space and Place website

 

Development Trusts NI: www.dtni.org.uk

Development Trusts Northern Ireland (DTNI) have established a Community Asset Transfer Demonstration programme.  The programme supports current concepts on Social Enterprise and tests the NI Executive's enabling framework policy proposals in support of the transfer of surplus public sector assets to organisations in the community and voluntary sectors.  If you think your project may be eligible, go to the community assets on the DTNI website.

 

Ulster Community Investment Trust, UCIT: www.ucitltd.com

The Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) is the key provider of social finance, free advice, business support and mentoring to the social economy sector in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  The loan fund has supported tourism initiatives, rural development and community enterprise projects in Northern Ireland.  More information is available on the UCIT website.

 

Irish Landmark Trust: www.irishlandmark.com

One organisation that has combined the benefits of heritage with tourism accommodation is the Irish Landmark Trust.  The Irish Landmark Trust is a non-profit organisation that finds interesting and unusual properties that are in need of conservation, and work with the owners/ acquire the buildings to give them new life. Since 1992 they have been turning historic buildings into truly special self-catering holiday accommodation showcasing the art of the possible. The properties range from lighthouses and schoolhouses, to castles and gate lodges.  More information on their current projects can be found on the Irish Landmark Trust website.

 

For Ecclesiastical buildings:

See above, Heritage Lottery Fund entry for their fund for listed places of worship. Also of significance to ecclesiastical buildings is the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme.  Applications to make use of the scheme will be accepted from religious and charitable groups whose main purpose is to conserve, repair and maintain redundant listed places of worship which are not in private ownership. The scheme enables VAT to be recovered on eligible works and expenditure and has recently been extended following updates in 2013 to its scope and operation.  For further information contact: Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme, PO Box 609, Newport, South Wales, NP10 8QD, Tel: 0845 601 5945, Email: nptcallcentreuk@liberata.com, http://www.lpwscheme.org.uk/

More support may also be available through the National Churches Trust who offer a Repairs Grant Programme.  More information is available on the website: www.nationalchurchestrust.org.  The Ulster Historic Churches Trust (UCHT) also provides advice on church maintenance, restoration and reuse for non-ecclesiastical purposes.  More information is available on their website: www.ulsterhistoricchurches.org

 


 

Funding from Central and Local Government:

Government Grant-Finder:

A Government Grant Finder service is available to support the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland. A search can be made by the Funding Source or Programme Name with details on and links to programmes that are currently open or closed for applications: https://govfundingpublic.nics.gov.uk/GrantFinder.aspx

DARD-Department of Rural Development:

Rural Development Programme- DARD (Department of Agriculture and Rural Development)- Some funding may be available for rural developement projects under the DARD Rural Development Programme.  More information is available at: http://www.dardni.gov.uk/index/rural-development/rural-development-programme-2014-20.htm

OFMDFM- Office of First Minister & Deputy First Minister:

OFMDFM Good Relations Community funding- The Strategy outlines how Government, community and individuals will work together to build a united community and achieve change against the key priorities of young people; shared community & cultural expression.  More information is available at:  http://www.ofmdfmni.gov.uk/central-good-relations-funding-programme

The Social Investment Fund (SIF) was set up to deliver social change. It aims to make life better for people living in targeted areas by reducing poverty, unemployment and physical deterioration. The fund will run until March 2016 and has been allocated £80 million by the Northern Ireland Executive.  More information can be found here: http://www.ofmdfmni.gov.uk/index/delivering-social-change/social-investment-fund.htm 

DSD- Department of Social Development:

DSD Urban Development Grants.  Department of Social Development Urban Development Grants are discretionary grants used for promoting job creation, inward investment and environmental improvement, by developing vacant, derelict or underused land or buildings in priority areas.  More information is available here. Information on other regeneration schemes such as 'Neighbourhood Renewal' and 'Environmental Improvement scheme', can also be found on the DSD website.

NITB- Northern Ireland Tourist Board:

NITB support the local tourism industry.  More information on funding opportunities can be found here.  Funding programmes include the Tourism Innovation FundCapital Development Fund; as well as links to other Funding Bodies.  Please note that NITB does not provide financial assistance towards the provision of tourist accommodation.  This is supported through Invest Northern Ireland (details as below). 

Invest NI:

Invest NI provides a wealth of business support and in particular guidance on business finance and grants.  There is information on business start up funding and they also provide extensive support for tourism accommodation business ideas. More information can be found at: http://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/tourism and http://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/support-available-accommodation-businesses

Local Councils:

Local Council small grants funding for community, arts and heritage can be found on individual council websites usually under a 'Grants and Funding' section like Belfast City Council's.  Speak to your local council Economic Development and Regeneration Departments to see if there are any local initiatives you can contribute to or get involved with.  Check out local funding in your council area

 


Additional Information:

VAT and Listed Buildings- HMRC advice:

For more information on reduced-rating for renovations and alterations to empty residential properties see here. For more information on Zero-rating approved alterations to protected buildings see here.

Rates and listed or vacant buildings:

More information on rates exemptions for listed or vacant buildings can be found on the NI Direct Government services website.

 


 

*Page last updated November 2015.  Please note this is not an exhaustive list of all funding available for the historic environment.

Contact UAHS
The Old Museum Building
7 College Square North
Belfast
BT1 6AR

T 028 9055 0213   
E info@uahs.org.uk

Supported by

Heritage Lottery Fund Historic Environment Fund

NI Charity Commission No: NIC101510

Company Reg No. NI 35582