National Lottery Heritage Fund (HLF) Applications

We have worked with numerous museums and galleries on successful large-scale HLF bids, including the National Army Museum, V&A Dundee, SS Great Britain and the Tate. We know what it takes to get a bid accepted, and we understand HLF requirements in terms of audience consultation, genuine and sustainable audience development and holistic, cross-departmental activity plans.

HLF Audience research and consultation

We have extensive experience in working with organisations on successful HLF bids. Therefore, we know that HLF responds really well to proposals with detailed plans that have been rigorously tested with the audience and potential audience and then refined in relation to feedback from those audiences. We therefore recommend that our clients adopt an iterative approach to allow for this, and for refinement and adaptation, based on comprehensive audience consultation and research.

HLF Activity Plans

Working with our clients on successful HLF applications, we know that a large-scale HLF application process has two stages:

  • Stage 1: first-round application: 
  • If successful in Stage I, there is a development phase which allows the organisation to develop a more detailed Stage 2 application.
  • Stage 2: second-round application and delivery grant request (this requires a detailed Activity Plan and research to underpin it):
  • If successful in Stage 2, the delivery grant is awarded and the project goes ahead. 

The ‘activities’ in an ‘Activity Plan’ are everything that a large-scale project hopes to achieve that is not capital work (i.e. architectural / structural changes). It explicitly involves audience research: consulting new and existing audiences in order to develop a detailed programme of activities to engage people with heritage. 

The broad aim of the HLF’s required Activity Plan is to show the differences the HLF funding will make: where you are now, where you want to be and how the HLF can bridge this divide. This is where we come in. 

We work with our clients to carry out research to find out the answers to such questions as:

  • Who is the organisation’s current audience?
  • What scope is there for the growth and development of this audience, both in terms of size and in terms of diversification – making it more representative of the population and of priority audience groups? 
  • What are the needs of current and potential audiences?
  • To what extent is the organisation meeting these needs now? 
  • Where is the organisation failing to meet these needs? 
  • To what extent do an organisation’s proposed developments address these outstanding needs? Will the organisation’s HLF project, if successfully funded, meet the objectives?

Claire is responsible for MHM’s communications. She makes sure our clients’ needs are at the...