Rural Funding Digest – August 2021


A monthly bulletin facilitated by your membership of the Rural Services Network highlighting a selection of current funding opportunities

– Download a printable version of the Funding Digest here

Grants for Heritage – National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund provide different levels of funding to heritage of all shapes and sizes. Their grants range from £3,000 up to millions of pounds.

Current programmes include:

  • Digital Skills for Heritage Tranche 8 – Digital Volunteering funding. This new funding programme is now available to help UK organisations or partnerships establish new digital volunteering opportunities across the sector. Opportunities should focus on digital activities and/or activities that can be carried out at distance. Grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 are available.
  • Local Places for Nature ? Breaking Barriers. Intended to help organisations working with excluded and disadvantaged communities to identify and remove barriers to community involvement in nature. Grants between £30,000 and £100,000 are available.
  • Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage – Emergency Resource Support. This is part of the rescue package announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to safeguard cultural and heritage organisations across England from the economic impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). The deadline for applications is 30 September 2021.
  • National Lottery Grants for Heritage – £3,000 to £10,000; £10,000 to £250,000; £250,000 to £5 million. The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic means?the Fund will prioritise heritage projects that:
  • promote inclusion and involve a wider range of people (a mandatory outcome)
  • boost the local economy
  • encourage skills development and job creation
  • support wellbeing
  • create better places to live, work and visit
  • improve the resilience of organisations working in heritage

Full information on all National Lottery Heritage Fund programmes is available on their website.

Welcome | The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Community Ownership Fund – Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

The £150 million Community Ownership Fund is for communities across the United Kingdom. It has been set up to help communities take ownership of assets and amenities at risk of closure. It will run for 4 years.

Voluntary and community organisations can bid for match funding.

Funding may support the purchase and/or renovation costs of community assets and amenities.

The fund will support a range of community ownership proposals. For example, projects may include:

  • sporting and leisure facilities
  • cinemas and theatres
  • music venues
  • museums
  • galleries
  • parks
  • pubs
  • post office buildings
  • shops

Proposals will need to prove the value of the asset to local people and that the asset can run sustainably for the long-term benefit of the community.

The deadline for applications to Round One is 13 August 2021.

Round Two will open in December 2021 and Round Three will open in May 2022.

Community Ownership Fund: prospectus – GOV.UK (

Culture Recovery Fund: Emergency Resource Support – Arts Council England

The Arts Council has launched a new fund for organisations at imminent risk of failure, particular those who have not yet received grants from the Culture Recovery Fund, to support them until the end of the year.

Grants are available between £25,000 and £3 million (£1 million for for-profit organisations).

Applications are subject to permission to apply being granted. The latest date that a permission to apply request can be accepted is 30 September 2021. The deadline for applications is then 14 October 2021.

Culture Recovery Fund | Arts Council England

Community Hedge Fund – The Tree Council

The Tree Council’s Close the Gap Community Hedge Fund can provide up to 100% grants for volunteer Tree Wardens and community groups in England to plant new hedgerows, hedgerow trees and gap up existing hedgerows in winter 2021/22. Planting can be in rural or urban areas on private or public land where the community will benefit.

The deadline for applications is 8 August 2021 and planting will need to take place by 30 January 2022.

Apply for our Community Hedge Fund – The Tree Council

Local Connection Fund – The National Lottery Community Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund is investing £2 million into this second round of the Local Connection Fund. This will be used to fund hundreds of ‘microgrants’ between £300 and £2,500, so small, local organisations (with an annual income of £50,000 or less) can bring people and communities together.

The funding is aimed at bringing people together in safe and secure ways, making people aware of what services are available to reduce loneliness and to build lasting connections.

The closing date for applications is 20 August 2021.

Local Connections Fund – Round 2 | The National Lottery Community Fund (

Children in Need Main Grants and Small Grants

Not-for-profit organisations can apply for grants of up to three years for projects that support children and young people aged 18 years and under experiencing disadvantage through:

  • Illness, distress, abuse or neglect.
  • Any kind of disability.
  • Behavioural or psychological difficulties.
  • Living in poverty or situations of deprivation.

The work funded make differences in children’s lives that help prevent or overcome the effects of the disadvantages they face. Funded organisations achieve these differences by either working directly with children or seeking to improve their social and physical environments.

The Main Grants programme for grants over £10,000 per year is open now and closes on 23 August.

The Small Grants programme for grants up to £10,000 per year will open on 16 August.

Grants – BBC Children in Need

Covid-19 Response Fund – National Heritage Memorial Fund

Launched in June 2021, this funding stream offers project grants to support any heritage asset which is:

  • of outstanding importance to the national heritage
  • at risk due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19)

A total of £40million is being distributed by NHMF, made up of two lots of £20m:

  • NHMF has made a commitment of £20m, which is available to applicants from across the UK.
  • A £20m Cultural Assets Fund has been made available by DCMS as part of the government’s wider Culture Recovery Fund. This funding will safeguard nationally important heritage assets within England.

Distributing NHMF’s own commitment as a single fund with the Cultural Assets Fund aims to ensure a UK-wide balance of funding.

This funding is available until the end of April 2023. There are no deadlines for applications.

COVID-19 Response Fund | National Heritage Memorial Fund (

Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme – Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is a part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan.

It will offer funding to farmers and land managers in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), National Parks and the Broads. It is not an agri-environment scheme.

The programme will fund projects that:

  • support nature recovery
  • mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage
  • support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme has been developed by Defra with the support of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Park staff from across England.

The programme runs from July 2021 to March 2024.

Get funding for farming in protected landscapes – GOV.UK (

Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme – Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

The Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme (NCPGS) provides funding to restore peatlands in the uplands and lowlands of England. It is a competitive grant scheme that will run until 2025.

The scheme is open to environmental groups, local authorities, charities, public bodies, individual landowners and organisations.

Natural England is looking for landscape scale applications that work to restore the whole hydrological unit of a peatland. This is likely to involve a number of sites and landowners, so applications from partnerships are encouraged.

Two grants are available:

  • Restoration grants fund landscape scale restoration work on degraded…


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