By Gemma Thorpe from Heritage Lottery Fund

I wanted to share some top tips developed by our South West team which are useful to take into consideration when thinking of making an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF):

Developing your idea:

  • To help demonstrate the need and demand for your project, good consultation and research is really important. It helps to show that it isn’t just three people sat around a kitchen table who think that this would be a great thing – but it’s much wider than that.
  • When looking for funding from us, the first step is to have a look at our website and have a read of the guidance notes for the programme that fits the project. This sets out what we fund, the outcomes projects we fund need to achieve for heritage, people and communities, and how to make an application – it’s really surprising how many people don’t do this.
  • It’s important that your project has clear aims and objectives – and that you explain clearly what the project is, and what it will do. What difference will it make?

Making an application:

  • Why now? What is the need for the project? Be clear on what challenges will it address – or what opportunities it will maximise that may be lost if the project doesn’t happen now.
  • In the application form, the Project summary section is your chance to ‘sell’ your project to decision makers – this section of the application form goes directly into the decision papers – it really is your voice in the process.
  • We look at risks both for the delivery of the project, but also for long term sustainability: does the team have relevant experience? Is an appropriate project management and governance structure in place? Are the project costs and funding targets reasonable and realistic? When looking at longer term sustainability, it’s important to set out what will happen after the project ends as we will look at how the outcomes will be maintained.
  • Don’t assume we’ll know! Even if you’ve talked to us at pre-application stage about elements of the project, it’s really important to ensure that all of the relevant info about your project is in the actual application you submit – this is what our assessment is based on, so it’s crucial to set information out clearly, and help us understand any background and wider context.

Lastly, don’t forget you can seek advice from HLF early on – you don’t have to have everything fully formed to submit a project enquiry form or ask a question on our online community and start the conversation.