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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.

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

Securing the Long-Term Future of the Heritage Sector

June 24, 2020

Securing the Long-Term Future of the Heritage Sector

The COVID-19 pandemic is having, and will continue to have, a significant impact on the heritage sector. This brief covers some of the key issues around the long-term sustainability of the heritage sector, and highlights where the government can support us.

In this document, we have set out our key asks to Government:

Key Asks –  Securing the Long-Term Future of the Heritage Sector 

Heritage and Wellbeing Roundtables

Heritage and Wellbeing Roundtables

The Heritage Alliance is hosting two roundtable sessions next week to test and discuss the draft recommendations in our latest report on the benefit of heritage to wellbeing.

The roundtables are being held virtually (over Zoom) at the following times:

Monday 29 June, 14:00-15:30

Thursday 2 July, 11:00-12:00

If you’d like to be involved, please get in touch with Max at