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Shake-up of the HLF will streamline funding

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The Heritage Lottery Fund is to be streamlined and spread geographically under plans announced by its new chairman, Eric Anderson, this week.

Applicants should know earlier on whether their proposals have a chance of success, while promoters of £5 million-plus schemes will compete twice- yearly for funding, rather than taking part in the current rolling programme. There will be more small grants for local communities, Dr Anderson - who succeeds Lord (Jacob) Rothschild - told a launch meeting in Battersea Park, London. And there will be three new 'country committees' formed to make grants of up to £375,000 in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The first competitive round for large projects will take place in six months, with about £70 million available from this year's budget of £250 million. It is understood that proposals of international significance would be well received, which may encourage the riba in its quest to resolve the future of the special collections. Trustees would probably also favour proposals which 'piggyback' on existing facilities. Under a two-stage procedure, applicants would no longer have to produce detailed project development before making a submission.

Meanwhile legislation introduced last year has now come into effect, which means that the fund can now support revenue as well as capital projects, which may increase public enjoyment and understanding of heritage, as well as conserving and protecting it. The fund can provide cash to helping the running of a project for up to three years, which could be in addition to any capital grant made. Details, tel: 0171 591 6041/2/3.

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