Eligibility and application guidance

Who can apply to the fund?

To apply to the fund, you must hold an archive or records of value, and be working with or willing to work with a recognised archive, such as:

  • a heritage organisation or service
  • an accredited archive service under the Archive Service Accreditation scheme
  • a member of a specialist heritage group such as the Community Archives and Heritage Group

What records are eligible?

The records that are at risk need to meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

Level of risk

The records face substantial risk to their long-term survival, either through an immediate factor, through a prolonged period of neglect or due to an absence of sufficient information to make informed decisions about their future management and retention.

Record significance

The records have sufficient historical, research and community significance that their loss would be detrimental to the future study of the record-creating organisation, person, locality, specialist subject area, or the nation.

Location

The records are currently held within the United Kingdom.

The archives can be in analogue or digital formats. They can be outside of the custody of the original organisation or person who kept them or a recognised heritage organisation or service. The fund focuses on records of historical value. It does recognise that some collections are hybrid but will not cover substantial collections of printed library reference material, artefacts or works of art such as paintings or sculptures. It does not cover the purchase of collections.

To find out more about the activities that these grants can cover, please visit our ‘About the Records at Risk’ webpage.

How much can I apply for?

Applications can be made for a maximum of £5,000. Funds are limited and are likely to be exhausted before the end of the 2021/22 financial year.

How do I apply?

Before applying, please

If you have any further questions, please contact us at asd@nationalarchives.gov.uk with the subject heading ‘Records at Risk Fund’. Please note that we will only be able to answer general questions about eligibility or application criteria, and will not provide specific advice or application drafting.

To apply to the Records at Risk Fund, please complete the online application form. The deadline for applications is Friday 28 January 2022.

How are the applications assessed?

Applications are assessed impartially by a two-stage process. A first-stage sift process will be conducted by The National Archives to check eligibility against the fund’s criteria. Sifted applications will then be assessed by a panel, including independent representatives from the archives and wider heritage sector. The criteria for assessment are:

Urgency
What is the likelihood of major deterioration to or loss of the collection, and in what timeframe?

Impact
What impact would the loss of the collection have for potential audiences as a resource for research and cultural identity?

Standards and accreditation
How aligned is the applicant to Archive Service Accreditation or other appropriate standards, such as museum accreditation?

Public Access
How reasonable is the level of public access envisaged at the end of the intervention?

Applicants are encouraged to ensure that their applications reflect these key criteria. The Records at Risk Fund is open to organisations across the UK and we particularly welcome applications from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Glossary

Archives at risk: A situation where an archive collection faces immediate risk of destruction or dispersal without urgent action to prevent this.

Archives and records: Recorded information (documents), regardless of form or medium, that are created, received and maintained by an agency, institution, organisation or individual in pursuance of its legal obligations or the transaction of business.

Accredited archive service: An organisation holding archives that has been awarded Archive Service Accreditation.

Heritage organisation or service: Organisations such as archive services, businesses, charities, museums and other heritage or cultural bodies that collect or hold archives.