1.2 Outcomes

Guide to apply National Lottery Grants for Heritage £3,000 to £10,000

Using money raised by the National Lottery, the National Lottery Heritage Fund inspires, leads and resources the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and for the future.

National Lottery Grants for Heritage is our open grant-giving programme for all types of heritage projects in the UK.

Who can apply?

Not-for profit organisations or private owners of heritage can apply for a grant of £3,000 to £10,000.

When is the deadline?

There are no deadlines. Apply whenever you are ready.

When will I get an answer?

We will assess your application and give you a decision within eight weeks.


Apply for a grant: step by step guide

  1. Check you are eligible to apply
  2. Check your project is the kind of thing we fund
  3. Check your project delivers at least one of our required project outcomes
  4. Consider calling us for a clarifying chat
  5. Read the applications questions and develop the best answers you can
  6. Collect documents you will need to fill in the application form
  7. Visit the application portal and create an account
  8. Submit your answers on the application form and upload any supporting documents
  9. Submit your project proposal
  10. Wait up to 8 weeks while we assess your application (what happens?)
  11. Receive a decision
  12. If you have been successful, see what you have to do next.

Check you are eligible to apply

You can apply for a grant of £3,000 to £10,000 if you are a:
  • not-for-profit organisation
  • charity, trust or charitable incorporated organisation
  • community or voluntary group
  • community/parish council
  • community interest company
  • faith based or church organisation
  • local authority
  • private owner of heritage. For example, an individual or commercial organisation

If you are a private owner or a private owner is involved in your project, we will assess whether public benefit outweighs any private gain. Read more about our requirements for private owners of heritage.

Board or committee requirements

You must have at least two people on your board or management committee who are not related by blood or marriage or living at the same address.

Who is responsible for the application

We usually expect the owner of - or person responsible for - the heritage to fill in the application form and, if you are successful, receive the grant and report on progress. If the owner of the heritage is not making the application then we will ask them to sign up to the terms of grant.

Check your project is the kind of thing we fund

We fund projects that connect people and communities to the national, regional and local heritage of the UK.

What do we mean by heritage? It can be anything from the past that you value and want to pass on to future generations.

This could include:

  • people’s memories and experiences (often recorded as ‘oral history’)
  • cultural traditions (for example, stories, festivals, crafts, music and dance)
  • nature (for example, habitats, species and geology)
  • natural and designed landscapes such as parks and gardens
  • archaeology, including community archaeology
  • historic buildings, monuments and environments
  • collections of objects, books or documents in museums, libraries or archives
  • histories of people and communities or places and events
  • the heritage of languages and dialects
  • places and objects linked to our industrial, maritime and transport history
  • building new skills and capacity in organisations that already have responsibility for heritage Organisational resilience guidance

We will only fund projects that:

  • focus on heritage in the UK
  • involve activities that have not yet begun, although we're happy to support organisations that have been around for any period of time
  • last up to one year
  • have a clear plan with a defined start, middle and end

If your project will benefit people in Wales, you must use the Welsh language when you carry out your project.

We expect you to own any property (land, buildings, heritage items or intellectual property) on which you spend the grant.

As an exception, if your project involves activity to take on the management of heritage, or any other activity involving property you do not own, we will accept a letter from the owner giving permission for the project to go ahead. This letter should be submitted with your application.

Things to know if you are a private owner of heritage

Can I apply for a grant?

Yes. Private owners of heritage, such as individuals and commercial organisations, may apply for a National Lottery Grant for Heritage of £3,000-£10,000.

Is my project eligible?

Broadly speaking, the public benefit of your project should outweigh any private gain. It’s important to show this on your application form.

We will not fund:
  • works that are the statutory duty of the owner
  • the purchase of buildings or any heritage assets
  • construction of new buildings

There are also requirements for specific types of project:

Capital (building) work

If your project includes any capital work, you will need to show us that your project:

  • will significantly increase public access and public engagement with heritage
  • has clear public enthusiasm and support
  • needs National Lottery investment

Landscape and nature projects on private land

Many priority habitats and species occur on land that is owned by private individuals or for-profit organisations. We do accept applications for landscape and nature projects that are on both public and privately owned land.

In order for projects taking place on private land to be considered for funding, your overall project must meet the following criteria:

  • have a core of good-quality priority habitat or support a significant population of priority species from which to extend out from
  • enhance and/or expand the extent and quality of habitat that will help to meet UKBAP habitat and species targets
  • contribute to long-term sustainable management of the area
  • demonstrate a strategic approach to the conservation of a priority habitat or species

Even when working on private land we will expect some degree of public access to be provided. We also accept the principle of zoned levels of physical access within your project area and that physical access may not always be appropriate or desirable for habitat conservation reasons.

There should already be public access to the land that you own, and you may also have some infrastructure, for example paths or hides, that can help to accommodate increased public access.

Third party ownership

Do I have to fill the form in differently?

You fill in the form in the same way. Note that we do not need to see your governing document if you are a private owner of heritage.

Who receives the grant if my application is successful?

We usually expect the owner of the heritage to receive the grant and report on progress. If the owner of the heritage is not making the application then we will ask them to sign up to the terms of grant

What can you use grant money for?

You can use the money we give you to cover wide range of direct project costs, for example:

  • volunteer expenses (such as travel or refreshments)
  • training costs (this could include, for example, oral history training for staff and volunteers, or social media training. Training relevant to the project)
  • event costs (including room hire, refreshments and equipment)
  • costs of creating or improving an asset (aka the cost of ‘capital works’). This asset could be physical, like a building or a heathland, or virtual, like a digitised collection.
  • new staff posts
  • professional fees (for example, legal costs, architects, or other specialists)
  • costs to improve access to your heritage
  • activities to help you strengthen your organisation (activities could include a skills audit for staff and trustees, or project management training to care for heritage)
  • costs associated with taking on new responsibility for heritage (for example, feasibility studies)

Grant money cannot be used for:

  • existing staff posts or organisational costs
  • repairs to your own home
  • statutory and/or legal responsibilities
  • promoting the cause or beliefs of political or faith organisations
  • recoverable VAT - this includes VAT paid on goods and services purchased for use in your organisation or as a private owner of heritage. Government guidance on reclaiming VAT
  • costs for any activity that has taken place before a grant is awarded

What kind of projects have we funded before?

You can see every grant of £3,000-£10,000 that we have made since 2013 on GrantNav (a third party site) - over 4,000 of them.

There’s also stories about what we’ve funded on our own site, here.

What we're looking for in a good application

Our application process is competitive, and we cannot fund every good quality application that we receive.

When we read an application, there are certain things we’re looking for to help us understand what your project will do, what outcomes you will achieve, and how you’ll use our funding if you are successful.

Signs that your project fits into one of our heritage types

We ask you to tell us which type of heritage your project most closely links to. You can only choose one type of heritage. When you describe your project, you will have the chance to tell us if it will involve other areas of heritage.

  • Museums, Archives, Libraries and Collections
  • Community Heritage
    • Community Heritage Projects focusing on a range of heritage in a geographic community, or projects about a particular community of interest/social background.
    • Read more about community heritage projects we have funded

  • Landscapes, Parks and Nature
    • works to improve habitats or conserve species, as well as helping people to connect to nature in their daily lives
    • improving and conserving historic landscapes such as public parks, historic gardens and botanical gardens
    • large-scale rural projects that help improve landscapes for people and nature, by for example, restoring habitats and celebrating the cultural traditions of the land
    • Read more about landscapes, parks and nature projects we have funded

  • Industrial, Maritime and Transport
    • this might be places and objects linked to our industrial, maritime and transport history, like aircraft, road vehicles, locomotives, rolling stock, vessels, or buildings, special infrastructure, fixed installations or machinery (for example, pumping engines).
    • Read more about industrial, maritime and transport projects we have funded

  • Cultures and Memories
    • oral histories - recordings of people’s stories, memories and songs, as a way of communicating and revealing the past
    • cultural traditions - exploring the history of different cultures through storytelling, or things that you do as part of your community. This could be anything from dance and theatre, to food or clothing. It could also include the heritage of languages and dialects.
    • Read more about cultures and memories projects we’ve funded

  • Archaeology
    • The exploration of human activity through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artefacts and other physical evidence.
    • community or public archaeology - involves the active participation of volunteers in archaeological activities, everything from investigating, photographing, surveying to finds processing. Can occasionally include excavation

Reasons your project should happen now

If there is a reason why the project needs to happen now, or soon, tell us about this in your application.

You should also let us know if the project will serve needs in addition to the outcomes you’ve identified from our priorities, like providing a community hub where there currently isn’t one, or preserving or protecting something that would otherwise be lost.

Let us know in your application if the project will involve acquiring new objects or commemorations and celebrations, telling the stories and histories of people, communities, places or events related to specific times and dates.

A clear explanation of how your project will achieve our outcomes

We need to know which of our outcomes the project will achieve, and how you’ll do that.

It’s particularly important that your application tells us what you will do to achieve our mandatory outcome, and any of our other outcomes that you’re also aiming to reach.

The best responses tell us what you will do for each of the outcomes you choose. For example, what activities you plan to run, and how you will know you have been successful. If you can, include your plans for measuring change and some information about the current state.

As an example, you could include some data about how many people currently engage with the heritage site or collection you’re working on, and how many more people you expect your project to reach. For the mandatory outcome, ‘a wider range of people will be involved in heritage’, you could tell us how those visitor numbers are split across different groups in society. Visitor groups might include, for example, a broader range of ages, ethnicities and social backgrounds, more disabled people, or groups who have never engaged with your heritage before.

Value for money

We will assess whether your project offers good value for money and we will consider your contribution. This could be a cash contribution, a non-cash contribution or volunteer time. We will ask you to tell us about your contribution in the application form.

If your application is assessed as providing low value for money then it may be rejected earlier during the assessment period. We will let you know this at the time.

At this grant level, we do not require a contribution from you but you should consider whether other funders, organisations or people might be able to support your project. This will help show us that other people and organisations are committed to your project.

Cash contributions

This might be from your organisation’s own reserves, a donation from a benefactor, a grant from another funder or other fundraised support (for example, crowdfunding).

Non-cash contributions

This includes anything you need for your project that you do not have to pay for (for example, room hire or equipment). We can only accept non-cash contributions if they are direct project costs that could have been part of your project budget.

Volunteer time

This is the time that volunteers give to support the delivery of your project. This could include administrative work, clearing a site or working as a steward at an event. You should not include costs for the time of people who will take part in your activities (for example, people who attend a workshop or go on a guided tour).

We’ve put together guidance for calculating the value of volunteer time.

Clear recognition by you, the applicant, of key risks to your project’s success

For us, it isn’t enough to fund projects with good intentions - we need to have confidence that those intentions are realistic and achievable. We’ll look at things like the project plan, costs, and project management plans to help us assess how high risk the project is.

It is much better to let us know about any risks you’ve identified and how you plan to manage or reduce them, than to leave them out of your application entirely. Without this, we won’t know that you have the expertise and project management in place to handle potential risks that we might identify or recognise from similar projects we’ve worked with in the past.

Equally, it can help your application if you include any relevant experience, or skills, that you or your team may have, that might be of benefit to your project.

Confirmation that you have thought about the environmental impact of your project

For grants of this size, we’re primarily looking for you to tell us what consideration you’ve given to the environmental impact of your project, and any steps you’re taking to minimise negative impact.

For example:

  • tell people how to get to your site or events by public transport
  • use compostable/biodegradable plates and cutlery for event catering
  • use local suppliers
  • use recycled and/or environmentally friendly materials
  • recycle your waste
  • tell people about the environmental measures you have implemented

For more guidance on environmental sustainability, read our good practice guide

Acknowledgement that it is National Lottery players who will be enabling this project, if funded, and thoughtful ideas about recognising their contribution in the project itself

It’s important to think about how your project will acknowledge the National Lottery and National Lottery players for your grant. Tell us how you plan to do this in your application form and project plan. You can find ideas on acknowledgement on our website.

Get help answering questions in the online application form

Read our Application Help Notes to get advice on how to complete each question in the application form

Find out project specific requirements for planning your application

Depending on your project, you may find some of this information useful during the planning stage of your project

If your project contains digital outputs

A digital output could be anything in your project that has been designed to give access to, or help people engage with, and learn about heritage.

For example, this could be digital images, sound files or data, a website with heritage material, an app, virtual reality, or a film made using digital technology.

The requirements do not apply to digital outputs that have no heritage content or do not engage people with heritage, for example, a website that contains only information about your organisation/ project or events listings.

If you receive a grant between £3,000 and £10,000, all digital outputs must be:

  • usable and available. This means that the output functions as intended and is kept up-to-date, and that the output is available to the public as intended. All the digital files must be held securely and you can give access to the digital files on demand for five years from project completion
  • free of charge for non-commercial uses for five years from the Project Completion Date.
  • licensed for use by others under the Creative Commons licence ‘Attribution Non-commercial’ (CC BY-NC) for five years from the Project Completion Date, unless we have agreed otherwise.

You must follow our procurement guidelines, which can be found in our Receiving a grant guidance. As an overview, for costs for goods, works or services worth more than £10,000, you must get at least three competitive tenders/quotes.

You must openly advertise all project staff posts, with the following exceptions:
  • you have a suitably qualified member of staff on your payroll that you are moving into a project post.
  • you are extending the hours of a suitably qualified member of staff on your payroll so that they can work on the project. In this case we will fund the cost of the additional hours spent on the project and you will need to tell us about their role. You must use the Living Wage rate (and London Living Wage where applicable) for all project staff. Please show evidence of budgeting for Living Wage rates in your staff costs and budgets.

Procedures to recruit consultants and contractors must be fair and open and keep to the relevant equality legislation.

If you are unsure about your obligations, we advise you to take professional or legal advice. If you have already procured goods, works or services for the project that are worth more than £10,000 (excluding VAT), you will need to tell us how you did it. We cannot pay your grant if you have not followed the correct procedure.

For more detailed guidance for digital aspects of your project, read our digital guidance.

If your project involves buying land and buildings

We can fund projects that involve the purchase of land and/or buildings that are important to our heritage, and are at, or below, market value. The principal reasons for purchase must be a benefit for long-term management of heritage and for public access.

If you already manage the land and/or buildings that you want to buy, you will need to show us what extra benefits the purchase will bring. You will need to show that all options for entering into an appropriate management agreement with the freehold owner have been explored before seeking a grant for purchase.

We can help you to buy land and/or buildings if you demonstrate in your application form that:

  • any risks to their preservation will be reduced by your purchase
  • the price accurately reflects the condition and value
  • you have a collecting policy and the purchase is in line with your policy
  • the items will be accessible to the public once purchased
  • you can show that you have adequate plans for their long-term care and maintenance

We will fund buying works of art, archives, objects and other collections that are important to the heritage and which were created more than 10 years ago. We will also fund buying more recent items of heritage importance, but only if they are part of a larger collection, which is more than 10 years old.

If your project includes buying a heritage item, land or building, the terms of the grant will last indefinitely. We may require a charge on the item, or items. If you wish to dispose of what you have bought in future, you can ask for our permission, and we may claim back our grant. If you already have the item, or items, on loan to your organisation, you will need to show us what extra benefits buying them will bring.

There is unlikely to be sufficient public benefit in the acquisition of a heritage item by one publicly funded collection from another for us to consider funding the purchase.

We will not support purchases that we think are above market value.

We will not give priority to a purchase simply because of an export stop. An export stop gives organisations a chance to raise money needed to buy an item or collection that is intended for export. The export stop defers the export licence for a specified period in order that an offer may be made from within the UK.

If you intend to apply to us you should contact your local office as soon as possible, and within the first deferral period.

If you need an urgent decision from us, you must contact your local National Lottery Heritage Fund office to discuss this before you apply. We can only consider offering fast-track decisions for buying heritage items or collections if the deadline means we cannot assess your application within our usual timetable.

Our staff will discuss with you the implications of our fast-track procedure for your application. If you have a short amount of time to buy the item, or items, we ask you to provide us with details of how this object will be integrated into your existing learning activities and public programmes.

We do not require you to have a separate activity plan but we will expect activities and programmes to be appropriate for the object you are acquiring.

Costs

The eligible costs associated with a purchase include:

  • the purchase price
  • fees incurred by your organisation as the buyer including valuations; agent’s fees; and the buyer’s premium for purchases at auction
  • unreclaimable VAT

Ineligible costs include:

  • seller’s fees (for example, legal and agents’ fees)

You should also include the costs of all the other activities you will do in your project once you have bought the item, or items. The costs of your activities must be in proportion to the cost of the item, or items.

The information we need about the purchase

You will need to provide:

  • information about the history and significance of the item(s)
  • a statement about why you are the right organisation to own the item(s). This should be supported by what you say in your policies, such as your acquisition or collections-management policy
  • evidence that you will become the full owner of the item(s) or a good case for well-planned joint ownership
  • documentary proof of the provenance (origin) of the item(s). Examples of proof include sale documents, legal documents, export documents, written statement by the current owner, history of the item(s)
  • evidence that the current owners are the owners (have legal title) and have the right to both sell the item(s) and transfer the title to the new owner
  • an independent valuation on an open- market basis for the item(s) you wish to buy; this should include the valuer’s reasoning to support the valuation, not just a statement of the value; you do not need to commission a valuation for an item (or items) which is the subject of an export stop or part of the Treasure Valuation Process
  • evidence that you have followed current guidance on portable antiquities, illegal trade, and items and collections that could be sensitive. You should provide a statement outlining your research into the relevant laws and guidelines on ethical acquisitions
  • a description of how you will manage the item(s) and keep it secure, both at the time you buy it and in the future
  • a conservator’s report saying whether the item(s) have conservation needs and, if so, how you will meet those needs. The report should include evidence that your organisation has the right environmental conditions to house the purchase

If your project involves land, habitats and species

Biological-recording projects

Any species observations must comply with the standards for data quality and accessibility as set out by the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) on the NBN Atlas. These observations must be made available to the public on an open licence at capture resolution, subject to sensitive species restrictions.

There are several ways of achieving this. NBN Atlas Data Partners may prefer to supply datasets directly to the NBN Atlas. Alternative options include through online recording tool iRecord or they can be shared with your local or regional environmental record centre for onward transmission to the NBN Atlas.

Please ensure if submission to the NBN Atlas is via a third party they are aware of the requirements to submit this data at capture resolution on an open licence.

If you are unsure how best to proceed, please contact the NBN directly to discuss the most appropriate data supply route. You must also meet our digital requirements.

The information we need about agricultural state aid:

You will need to provide state aid clearance from Defra if agricultural state aid rules are likely to apply.

Working on private land

Many priority habitats and species occur on land that is owned by private individuals or for-profit organisations.

We do accept applications for landscape and nature projects that are on both public and privately owned land, provided that public benefit outweighs any private gain for the individual land owner, or owners, where they are private individuals or for-profit organisations.

In order to include private land your overall project must meet the following criteria:

  • have a core of good-quality priority habitat or support a significant population of priority species from which to extend out from
  • enhance and/or expand the extent and quality of habitat that will help to meet UKBAP habitat and species targets
  • contribute to long-term sustainable management of the area
  • demonstrate a strategic approach to the conservation of a priority habitat or species

Even when working on private land we will expect some degree of public access to be provided. We also accept the principle of zoned levels of physical access within your project area and that physical access may not always be appropriate or desirable for habitat conservation reasons.

There should already be public access to the land that you own, and you may also have some infrastructure, for example paths or hides, that can help to accommodate increased public access.

Third party ownership requirements for landscape and nature projects

Where the land (which may include different plots of land over a wide area) that is the subject of grant funding, is owned by a third party or multiple third parties (including private owners), legal agreements should be put in place between each landowner and the grantee.

There is no prescribed form of agreement but we have specific requirements which should be included in any third party landowner agreements. At a minimum, the land owner agreements should include the following:

Details of the parties:

  • confirmation as to how the land is held (freehold or leasehold)
  • a description of the property (including plans)
  • covenants on the part of the land owner to maintain the land and provide public access in accordance with the terms of the grant (as applicable)
  • a provision that any onward disposal should be subject to the third party agreement
  • that the agreement will last from the start of the work on the third party land until 10 years following Project Completion

You will need to provide us with copies of the landowner agreements to ensure compliance with these requirements. The landowner agreements will need to be completed and in place before any grant monies are released for work on each plot of land owned by a third party.

Third party ownership requirements for capital works to built heritage

If your project involves substantial work to a heritage building or ornamental garden, that is owned by a third party we will usually expect the owner to become a joint grantee or to grant you a lease which meets our requirements.

In some situations rather than make the owner a joint grantee, we may ask them to sign a side letter agreeing to comply with the terms of grant in so far as they relate to matters within their control.

Legal costs

You may include the costs of adapting and setting up any third-party agreements, including the cost of taking legal advice, as part of the costs in your application.

Find out what documents you will have to prepare

As well as asking you to answer our application questions, we also ask you to provide us with some documents which help us understand more about how you’ll manage funds from us if you are successful. This is important to us as an organisation responsible for public funds.

During the application process you will have the opportunity to upload various documents. Read the information below to identify which documents you will have to upload: not every project has to upload the same kind of documentation.

Please do not submit any extra documents or information that we do not ask you for, as we will not use them in assessment.

Governing document (for example, constitution)

A ‘Governing Document’ is a formal legal document that sets out the rules for the operation of your organisation. If you don’t have one, the Charity Commission provides guidance on creating one.

We are unable to accept your application if your governing document does not include:

  • the name and aims of your organisation. Make sure your project falls within the aims of your organisation.
  • a statement that prevents your organisation from distributing income or property to its members during its lifetime
  • a statement which confirms that, if your organisation is wound up or dissolves, the organisation’s assets will be distributed to another charitable or not-for-profit organisation and not to the organisation’s members
  • the date when it was adopted and the signature of your chairperson (or other authorised person)

We do not need to see your governing document if:

  • you are a public organisation (for example, a local authority)
  • you are a private owner of heritage

Accounts

Accounts are a formal statement of your organisation’s financial position.

If your organisation has been around long enough to have audited or account verified accounts, we will need you to submit them.

If your organisation is too new to have audited accounts, please submit your last three bank statements or a letter from your bank confirming that you have opened an account.

We do not need your accounts if you are a public organisation (for example, a local authority).

Letters of support (no more than six)

Letters of support are a good way of showing us that you have spoken to other people and that they are interested and committed to your project. This is particularly important if you have named them in your application as partners or collaborators.

Please send us letters of support from the people involved in your project, rather than general supportive statements.

For example, if you are planning to deliver workshops at local youth clubs then a letter of support from the youth club will show us that they want to take part, and that they understand the nature of the support they will be providing to your project.

If your project involves activity to take on the management of heritage that is owned by an organisation other than your own, one of your letters needs to be from the current owner, giving permission for the project to go ahead.

Letters of support can include supportive emails from relevant partners or collaborators in your project.

Condition survey (if applicable)

If your project involves the conservation of heritage, you must provide a condition survey or another appropriate document such as a draft or outline conservation plan. This document should tell us the current condition of the heritage and the works that are needed to return the heritage to a good condition.

For example, if you plan to conserve a local war memorial, you will need to know the current condition and what repair works are needed. The survey or report should also indicate the relative priority of the suggested works (what works are most critical and need to be tackled most urgently).

Submit supporting documents

When submitting supporting documents, use the headings above to name the files you attach, so that we can easily identify each document. Naming your files in this way reduces the risk of delay to your application.

We will not begin assessing your application until you submit all relevant supporting documentation.

Learn what documents you need to send, after a grant has been awarded, but before you receive any money

If you are successful and the decision is made to award your grant, there are some things we will need so that we can make a payment to you.

Terms of grant

We will ask you to sign up to our standard terms of grant.

The duration of the terms of grant depends on the type of project and the nature of your organisation.

Projects which are based on a plan of activities and which included a project end date in their application will have terms of grant which end on the same date as the project, known as the project completion date.

Projects which involve capital works, or digital projects, will have terms of grant which run for 5 years after the project completion date.

If your project includes buying a heritage item, land or building, the terms of the grant will last indefinitely. This is sometimes called an acquisition. If you wish to dispose of what you have bought in the future, you must ask for our permission and we may claim back all or part of our grant.

If your project includes an acquisition, please read our receiving a grant guidance, which you receive with aletter to confirm your grant.

Permission to Start

You will need to submit a Permission to Start form through the online application portal and provide us with:

  • your organisation’s bank account details - the name on this bank account must exactly match the name of the organisation making the application.
  • proof of ownership/leasehold requirements (if applicable)
  • a consent or licence defined in and required by law. It will be project specific but most commonly: listed building consent, planning permission, scheduled monument consent, section 42 licence.
  • confirmation of every other bit of funding your project has from other funders, also known as partnership funding (if applicable)
  • Once we have received your form and checked the information, we will send you a Permission to Start letter, and pay your full grant in advance.

You can now begin your project.

Learn what you will have to do during your project if you are awarded a grant

When you finish your project, we will ask you to submit two reports.

Completion report

  • documenting what you spent the money on.

Project evaluation report

  • A summary about what you did, set against your project outcomes. This report helps us to show the difference National Lottery funding has made. Your evaluation report should include the following:

Project evaluation report guide

Executive summary

An overall summary of the project activities and outcomes. It should be possible to read this and get a good grasp of what happened in your project and the impact it has had.

What was planned to happen

This should highlight a brief background to the project, setting out why the project was started, what you planned to do and what difference the project intended to make and why.

What actually happened

This section should detail what took place as part of the project under a coherent set of project activity headings. The difference your project made, or is making, should follow on from the areas of outcome and impact highlighted in the ‘What was planned to happen’ section. This section should also reflect on areas such as project management, staffing, timetable, and approach to ongoing evaluation.

Summary of lessons learnt

Key things the organisation has learnt and what you would you do differently next time.

Plan your budget to complete your project evaluation

We recommend allowing a budget for evaluation of between 2% and 7% of your total project costs. Your budgets for evaluation should not be less than the 2%. If your evaluation budget is lower, you will need to tell us why in the description for this project cost.

You will be asked to write an evaluation of your project and attach it to your final completion report. Evaluation reports help us to demonstrate the lasting change for people and communities that your project has made. The evaluation report also shows whether a project has spent the grant appropriately and desired outcomes have been achieved.

We will also send you an evaluation questionnaire within one year of the completion of your project. It will ask for information on the numbers of activities undertaken, the number of visitors you have received (where appropriate), the amount of training and volunteer involvement in your project, and any extra staff you have taken on. For all of these ‘outputs’ of your project, we will be interested in the types of people that have benefited as well as the overall numbers.

Learn what information you need to collect for your evaluation questionnaire

For visitors, volunteers, trainees and staff, we ask for demographic details by gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and social class. We also ask that you collect the following quantitative information:

1. Activities

We want you to tell us how many activities were carried out using your grant. The activities we list are:

  • Open days

    Days when you open a heritage site, collection or feature to the public, which cannot normally be visited. It can also include days when you do not charge for admission at attractions that normally charge an entrance fee.

  • Festivals

    Programmes of events or activities for the public, lasting one day or more, with a clearly defined theme or focus.

  • Temporary exhibitions and displays

    Exhibitions or displays that are not a permanent feature of your site and last for less than 12 months.

  • Guided tours or walks

    These may be guided by either your staff or people outside your organisation, but must be based on your heritage site or feature.

  • Visits from schools and colleges

    Can include visits by primary, secondary and higher levels of education.

  • Outreach sessions in schools and colleges

    Visits made by your staff or volunteers working with you on the project.

  • Other on‐site activities

    Activities that take place at your site that you feel are not included under the other headings.

  • Other outreach or off‐site activities

    Activities that have taken place away from your site that you feel you have not been able to tell us about.

2. Visits

Data about the number of people who visited your attraction the year before your project started and the year after it completed. If the attraction or facility we fund is part of a bigger attraction (for example, if we funded a gallery within a larger museum), we only want you to give us visit numbers for the part of the attraction or facility that we give money towards.

3. Volunteers

The number of volunteers involved with the funded project and the number of volunteer hours they contributed.

4. Training

The number of people trained through the project, under a set of skills headings covering conservation, audience engagement and management.

Training includes any structured programme of on-the-job training, skill- sharing, work-based learning and work experience. We ask you to distinguish between training for your staff and training for volunteers.

5. New staff

The number of new staff posts created to carry out your project, and the number of these still being maintained after the end of the project.

On their own, these numbers will not tell the whole story of what your project is about, and your evaluation report will need to tell us about the quality of your project as well.

For more information on evaluation, read the guidance on our website.

Learn what happens if you are unsuccessful

You will receive a letter detailing our decision. We will try to give you a clear indication of whether you should try to strengthen your application and reapply.