Eligibility and application guidance

Eligibility criteria for records

The records can be:

  • in analogue or digital formats
  • held by a collecting archive institution or in the custody of the records creator

The records at risk must pass the following eligibility tests:

  1. Risk to records
    The records face substantial risk to their long-term survival through an immediate risk. This risk could be a prolonged period of neglect exacerbated by organisational change or economic pressure. The risk could also be the absence of sufficient information to make informed decisions about the records’ future management and retention.
  2. Insufficient funding
    There is insufficient funding and capacity within the organisation to secure future public access to the collection. This would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Record significance
    The records have sufficient historic and research significance that their loss would be detrimental to the future study of the activities of the record-creating organisation, the subject area, locality, or national study. We will use the assessment criteria that supports the Archives Revealed funding programme.
  4. Location
    The records are currently held within the United Kingdom.

The fund is in the first instance not a purchase fund. However, if a collection is facing dispersal through sale or other forms of risk to its integrity, then we will consider providing funding for a recognised collecting institution to acquire the records.

Eligibility criteria for applicants

The applicants must be an archival custodian and meet one of the following criteria:

  • an accredited archive service under Archive Service Accreditation
  • an institutional archive of a record creating body such as a business, charity or religious body
  • a member of an appropriate specialist group such as the Community Archives and Heritage Group

Under exceptional circumstances, the records creator may apply. Where this happens, such organisations must apply in partnership with a recognised archival custodian.

Applying to the fund

Applications can be made for a maximum of £50,000, but funds are limited and must be distributed before the end of the 2020/21 financial year. The deadline for applications is therefore 15 January 2021.

Before planning an application, please contact us for a preliminary chat so that we can help. You can also read the application questions and prepare your answers on our ‘application preview‘ webpage.

Please apply to the Covid-19 Archives Fund via this online application form.

Application assessment

Applications will be assessed impartially by a panel of independent representatives from the archives and heritage sector. These representatives will look at the eligibility of the records for assistance and the level of risk they face. The assessment panel will meet in late January, after which we will notify the successful applicants about the funding decisions. The outcomes of the applications will be published at the end of March.

More information

For further details about the fund’s purpose and administration, as well as the types of intervention that the grants can support, please visit our ‘About the Covid-19 Archives Fund’ webpage. You can also contact Philip Gale at asd@nationalarchives.gov.uk.