The Grange detail
transpor tturst
rsz_colton_norfolk (1)
Gothic Temple
Martello Tower


News and updates from The Heritage Alliance team.

More of the latest news from The Alliance, our members, and from across the independent heritage sector, can be found in our fortnightly e-bulletin, Heritage Update.

Heritage, Health and Wellbeing – Report Launch

September 21, 2020

Heritage, Health and Wellbeing – Report Launch

The Heritage Alliance publishes its latest report on Heritage, Health and Wellbeing.

You can view the report here.

Our latest report ‘Heritage, Health and Wellbeing‘ explores the positive impact heritage can have on individual and community wellbeing. While the case for arts and culture supporting wellbeing is well developed, there is comparatively less understanding of the power of heritage to help people to “feel good”.

In the style of our 2019 Creative Industries report, our Heritage, Health and Wellbeing report examines the existing work in this space, before showcasing more than 30 case studies. These case studies cover the breadth of the work in our sector, from yoga in a historic house to a group of disabled adults empowered to put on a club night at Alexandra Palace. We consider these case studies, and the sector’s experiences more widely, to make recommendations to the heritage sector, the health sector, and to government.

As COVID-19 has turned traditional business models on their head, and individuals are more focused on their wellbeing than ever before, this report comes at a timely moment. We suggest that by expanding their offer into supporting wellbeing, heritage organisations can weather this storm and be sustainable into the future.

On 28 September 2020, we will be hosting a launch event for this new report. The report represents the culmination of almost three years of work in the Alliance – it is not one to be missed! Find the details and book your place here.

‘Historic Environment Forum’ Website Brief

September 16, 2020

‘Historic Environment Forum’ Website Brief


The Historic Environment Forum (HEF) brings together senior members of staff from more than twenty public and non-government bodies to work collaboratively on strategic matters for the historic environment sector.

HEF is a top-level forum, which carries out a range of activities to co-ordinate sector initiatives, and to encourage and support research, conservation, presentation, enjoyment and use of the historic environment in England. It is also a useful information-sharing platform between its members, aimed at enabling timely decisions to best support the sector.

Since 2015 HEF has been responsible also for the programme ‘Heritage 2020’, which showcased its outputs and outcomes in the website Heritage 2020 is drawing to an end in September 2020 and HEF decided to redevelop the Heritage 2020 website to share its activities and engage more with the broader historic environment sector and other stakeholders. This is also part of a recent restructuring of HEF, aimed at ensuring transparency and wider accessibility to HEF activities.

The Heritage Alliance is responsible for the project that supports the work of the Historic Environment Forum.

The current project runs between May 2020 and April 2021, but a new bid will be placed in October 2020 to continue offering the support necessary for HEF to deliver a number of beneficial outcomes identified by its members beyond April 2021.


HEF is a closed membership Forum, whose identified audiences are:

  • Members of the Forum.
  • Organisations within the historic environment sector engaging in collaborative working as part in HEF or its groups.
  • Organisations within the historic environment sector that are outside of the HEF umbrella but who are kept informed/involved of HEF’s work and benefit from its outputs.
  • Policy makers and opinion formers that the HEF seeks to influence through its work.
  • Partners from other sectors that will be kept involved of HEF activity and will be invited to contribute to task group priorities.


Goals of the site

  • Provide updated information on the activities of the Forum and its working groups in an accessible and navigable way.
  • Increase the visibility of HEF.
  • Make HEF outputs public.
  • Invite stakeholders to engage with HEF activities as appropriate.


HEF is not incorporated. To avoid giving the idea of a ‘corporate identity’, the visual identity of HEF on the website will be reduced to a minimum (e.g. it will not have a logo). The design concept behind the current Heritage 2020 website can be broadly maintained, although a brand new structure has been drafted.

Technical features of the site and content

The domain of the current website will have to be changed. The developer will be responsible for the migration of the current content of the website to a section of the new site (following the guidance of the team).

The new website will include:

  • A section on the scope, remit, membership, structure of the Forum, and contact details.
  • A section on HEF activities (with downloadable resources) and events (possibly with links to Eventbrite).
  • A section on Heritage 2020 and an ‘Archive’.
  • ‘News’ and ‘Get involved’ sections.

We would like to discuss the options for a members area (requiring log-in), where programme participants can access:

  • Discussion boards
  • Additional content

It must integrate with or work alongside existing platforms:

  • Social media (twitter, LinkedIn). We need a Twitter feed showcased in the homepage of the website
  • Online surveys ( / Surveymonkey

We need to be able to track visits to the different pages of the website.

The website to be redeveloped is based on WordPress, which we would like to maintain.

In-house requirements

The website must be editable by the HEF team (not especially trained in tech). We must be able to add new content (and possibly new pages) easily and independently.

Hosting, support and maintenance

The Heritage Alliance will secure online hosting as long as the project continues to be funded.

We may need support in future in editing the website. Therefore, please include in your quote a separate line for ongoing yearly support and maintenance.


The redeveloped website has to be online by December 2020. Immediate availability is required.


The maximum budget for this initial redevelopment is £6,000 incl. VAT. Applicants should have Professional Indemnity Insurance.

How to respond to the call for tender

Please send your portfolio, a short CV and a quote to Francesca Benetti (Historic Environment Forum Steering Group Manager):

Immediate availability is required.

The New Heritage Funding Directory

September 7, 2020

The New Heritage Funding Directory

The Heritage Alliance and the Architectural Heritage Fund launch a new website for the Heritage Funding Directory: a free, easy-to-use guide to financial support for heritage projects.

The Heritage Alliance and the Architectural Heritage Fund are delighted to announce the launch of a revitalised Heritage Funding Directory.

The Heritage Funding Directory is a free, simple platform for searching both funding grants and other means of support for individuals and organisations undertaking UK related heritage projects.

Today’s relaunch is an updated website, creating a more accessible and more user-friendly platform. The website has a searchable directory of funding sources and support available, with contact information for applicants to get in touch with each funder directly. Case studies from successfully funded projects provide inspiration and insights to those seeking support.

The updated website also hosts the International Funding Directory. The Heritage Alliance’s first International Report charted the activities of its members across the world, from Antarctica to Venice and when asked what prevented them delivering more work, the most common answer was ‘funding’. UK charities are often reluctant to fund overseas study and research, and the International Heritage Funding Directory helps these organisations deliver their aims while fostering international relations.

Organisations and businesses that offer grants or bursaries for heritage projects are encouraged to support this vital heritage sector tool by registering and updating their funds on the directory. This ensures that funding streams across the UK and worldwide for heritage are accessible to a broad audience.


In 2016, the Historic Houses Foundation, The Heritage Alliance and The Architectural Heritage Fund combined their funding directories in a searchable resource of grants from trusts and foundations, as well as organisations offering loan finance, awards, scholarships and other ‘in kind’ resources.

After four years, this tool has grown in popularity and has become an important tool for fundraisers and those looking for funding in the sector. The Heritage Funding Directory now lists nearly 500 entries, which cover historic buildings, landscapes, parks and gardens, churchyards and cemeteries, industrial heritage, archives, historic churches, museums, archaeology, environmental, heritage skills, conservation and more.

For further information and images, please contact Hannah Shimko, Head of Policy and Communications at The Heritage Alliance at; 0207 233 0700.

Notes to editors:

The Heritage Alliance

The Heritage Alliance is England’s biggest coalition of heritage interests. It brings together independent heritage organisations from the National Trust, English Heritage, Canal & River Trust and Historic Houses, to more specialist bodies representing visitors, owners, volunteers, professional practitioners, funders and educators. The 6.3 million volunteers, trustees, members, and staff of Heritage Alliance members combined demonstrate the strength and commitment of the independent heritage movement.

The Architectural Heritage Fund

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity founded in 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable reuse of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas. The Fund supports projects from the earliest stages of development – through grants, loans and full lifecycle advice – to help communities find enterprising ways to revitalise local areas through the conservation and adaptation of old buildings.

The Historic Houses Foundation

The Historic Houses Foundation (HHF) is a charitable grant-giving foundation which was set up in 2005 as the Country Houses Foundation, changing its name in 2019 following the merger with the Heritage Conservation Trust.  The HHF gives grants for  the repair and conservation of rural historic buildings and structures located in England and Wales, including where appropriate their gardens, grounds and outbuildings, and the conservation, maintenance and restoration of works of art and objects of outstanding artistic, scientific and historic interest.  To date they have awarded in excess of £11million in grants to over 250 projects across England and Wales helping to secure the future of many important country houses and rescuing numerous smaller architectural structures such as ice houses and follies.

Changes to the Planning System

August 11, 2020

Changes to the Planning System

The Heritage Alliance has produced a summary of the Government’s new White Paper on Planning.

MHCLG last week released its White Paper ‘Planning for the Future‘, which outlines the Government’s vision for a new, simplified planning system. The proposals would see land zoned ‘for growth’, ‘for renewal’, or ‘for protection’ by local authorities. The consultation also includes measures to encourage the building of beautiful and sustainable houses and a new ‘Infrastructure Levy’ to replace current developer contributions.

You can read the Alliance’s full summary of the paper here.

In addition, recent announcements of the use of Permitted Development in relation to the demolition of old buildings and ‘building up’ are also of particular concern for our sector. There was, also released last week, a further consultation​ on more changes to the current planning system, including extending permitted development rights to major developments.

The Heritage Alliance’s Spatial Planning Advocacy Group (SPAG) is working to produce a letter to the Government about our concerns with these changes and to produce a more comprehensive ‘red line’ briefing.

Alliance member’s have reacted with caution to the announcement. The National Trust welcomed the Government’s commitment to protecting special spaces, but warned that changes ‘need to be carefully considered in the context of how we build back better, not just faster’. CPRE similarly responded with a warning to Government while CIfA have pointed out the limited consideration granted to archaeology in the report.

Our Summary of the UK Internal Market White Paper

August 4, 2020

Our Summary of the UK Internal Market White Paper

UK Internal Market White Paper Summary

On 16 July, the Government Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published a white paper which sets out policy options to protect the flow of goods and services in the UK’s internal market after the end of the transition period for the UK’s Exit from the European Union.

The Government is currently consulting on the options set out in the white paper. The Heritage Alliance will be producing a response to this consultation, the deadline for which is 13 August.

We have produced a summary of the UK Internal Market White Paper to inform organisations in the heritage sector about the paper and assist them as they write their own responses to the consultation.

Download our summary of the UK Internal Market White Paper.

Heritage in the Context of Britain’s Future Relationship with the EU

July 29, 2020

Heritage in the Context of Britain’s Future Relationship with the EU

The Heritage Alliance publishes a new briefing on Brexit and Heritage.

On 31 January 2020, the UK left the European Union. This continues to present several opportunities for the heritage sector, as well as some challenges. We have produced a briefing that sets out the opportunities we would like the Government to grasp now that we have left the European Union, as well as our key asks ahead of the negotiation of a free trade agreement with the EU.   

Opportunities to grasp 

  1. The Government should use this opportunity to kickstart the heritage construction industry and reduce VAT on repair, maintenance, and alteration of historic buildings to 0%. This would help to protect our built heritage and support the Government’s Net Zero target. 
  1. Leaving the EU also offers the opportunity for UK-based organisations to think internationally in a wider context. Our 2018 International Report’s recommendations included funding to facilitate an international skills exchange in a heritage context. 
  1. An effectively designed replacement to the Common Agricultural Policy will be an important part of protecting heritage into the future. We welcome the Government’s intention to replace blanket subsidies to farmers with money for specific environmental and heritage services. This will provide public money to those providing a public good.

Key asks for the future relationship 

  1. Funding. Heritage projects and scientific research received at least £450m in funding via the EU over the last decade. Funding is vitally important to the continued success of our sector.
  1. Skills. Many workers in the heritage sector are EU nationals. Barriers to accessing their labour will have a negative impact on the productivity of organisations in our sector.
  1. Goods. Many materials, such as lime and specific types of stone, are imported to the UK from the EU to help with the conservation of our built heritage. Access to these goods must be as unfettered as possible. 
  1. Standards. Strong environmental standards are important to our sector. These must not be diminished in the future.  

To see the full paper, which includes more detail and specific examples, please click here 

Summary of the Chancellor’s Statement

July 8, 2020

Summary of the Chancellor’s Statement

We have produced a summary of the Chancellor’s Statement on 8 July 2020.

Today, the Chancellor set out the Government’s response to support the economy as it reopens after COVID-19. He acknowledged that the country faces “profound economic challenges”, but said that the government’s job “had only just begun.” He announced a full Budget and Spending Review in the Autumn.

Read our full summary here.

Planning: Our Summary of Recent Changes

Planning: Our Summary of Recent Changes

A summary of recent changes to the planning system that could have an impact on our nation’s heritage.

We have produced a summary of recent changes to the planning system, following recent Government announcements. The document includes a summary of the Business and Planning Bill, the Prime Minister’s ‘Build build build’ speech on 30 June and the government’s plans for economic recovery with ‘A New Deal for Britain’.

Read our full summary here.

Our Letter to the Telegraph

July 7, 2020

Our Letter to the Telegraph

A Letter to the Telegraph from the Heritage Sector

At the end of June, the Heritage Alliance wrote a letter to the Telegraph about the contributions of the heritage sector to the national economy and as a large-scale public benefit.

We would like to thank our members for the support on this letter, which was an important statement for the Heritage sector. We are also grateful for all of the signatures we were able to collect and the continued support and evidence we receive from our members.

The article in the Telegraph can be read here.

Our full letter can be read here.

Launch of Heritage Digital Online Portal

Launch of Heritage Digital Online Portal

The Heritage Alliance launches an online portal for Heritage Digital.

We recently shared news of our latest project Heritage Digital. Heritage Digital is a new consortium project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund Digital Skills for Heritage funding stream, aiming to increase the amount of free digital skills training and support available to heritage organisations.

This partnership project is led by The Heritage Alliance with subject specialist partners Media Trust, Charity Digital and Naomi Korn Associates. The programme will be focussing on four strands of training and support for the heritage sector: digital strategy, digital communications, digital rights and digital technology.

We are now delighted to announce the launch of our online portal for the project, which includes a wealth of free resources in digital skills training and support for heritage organisations.

Our introductory guide to the programme is now available and the first two digital skills webinars are (happening on 14th and 21st of July) can now be booked online. Addressing two of the key needs highlighted in our sector consultation over the last month, these webinars will cover how to grow your audience online (digital comms) and how to utilise data, analytics and impact in your organisation (digital tech). Each webinar will be delivered live by expert trainers, and there will be a chance for Q&A at the end.

If you have any questions about the project, email Project Manager Carmen Talbot here:

What will the training programme offer?

  • Webinars – 2 webinars on each strand of support;
    • Online Digital Guides;
    • Digital Strategy Masterclasses;
    • Specialist Masterclasses;
    • Digital Days – a mini conference introducing the four key digital themes with talks, workshops and networking.
    • Online networking opportunities

How can I take part?

To sign up for an email notification of the release please register your details on our temporary landing page here: Heritage Digital Registration Page.

Heritage Digital Experts – share your success story

Key to the success of Heritage Digital are its Heritage Experts. We are looking for volunteers in the heritage sector to help support its delivery with stories of digital success and comment on the programme through feedback and blogs.

We would love to hear from anyone with experience, interesting case studies, or expert knowledge in the field. We are looking for experts from a variety of heritage organisations across the sector, and whether you have one success story, or have worked in the digital heritage sector throughout your career, we want to hear from you. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Carmen directly on