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Recovery and Resilience Fund

Independent museums can apply for support to help them recover from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and build resilience and sustainability.

About the fund

Following round 1 of the Recovery and Resilience Fund which closed in October 2020, additional funding made available by the Scottish Government means that we are now running a second round of the fund. Where round 1 made funds available to support the independent Scottish museums put at risk as a result of the pandemic to meet their operating and critical costs through to 31 March 2021, round 2 now offers support with these costs through to 30 June 2021.

As with round 1, funding for round 2 aims to secure the future of those independent Scottish museums most vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic and therefore, in addition to supporting operating costs where needed, the fund will support resilience building activity where it can be demonstrated that there will be a clear and rapid impact for the sustainability of these museums.

Awards will be made between 12 and 31 March 2021 and all funds must be spent by award recipients by 30 June 2021.

Who can apply for this funding?

Organisations that applied to round 1 are eligible to enquire about a grant increase if they have a need for further support from the fund, about the suitability of elements of their original application that we were not able to fund through the first round, or about new needs.

Organisations that applied to round 1 but were not successful are also eligible to enquire about changes to their needs or the suitability of elements of their original application for consideration under round 2.

Organisations that did not apply to round 1 and that meet our eligibility criteria below are eligible to apply to this round.

Independent museums in receipt of funding directly from the Scottish government and who did not apply to round 1 should contact MGS to discuss eligibility.

All organisation will need to submit an expression of interest to enquire about the suitability of an application, we will not be accepting applications from organisations that have not submitted an expression of interest first. Please see the section ‘How to Apply’ below.

Eligibility to apply:

We will accept applications from any independent museum in Scotland run by a not for profit organisation meeting the following criteria. Please note that organisations with a remit that is wider than running a museum will only be able to apply for support proportionate to their museum activity. For example, we are unlikely to be able to support 100% of your operating costs if substantial parts of your operating costs come from delivering non museum activity or activity that is not undertaken solely to support your museum activity.

Eligible organisations will meet the following definition of a museum:

“Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society.” MA definition, 1988

They must also:

  • Operate a physical site/space/building which is normally open to the public for a minimum of 20 days a year
  • Provide access for the public to see and engage with the museum’s collections
  • Be a formally constituted not for profit organisation

Organisations that run museums that are not Accredited and that have not previously applied to our funds will have to complete an eligibility questionnaire to verify eligibility. To request an eligibility questionnaire, please email Please note that complete eligibility questionnaires must be submitted to MGS no later than 12 February.

What we can fund

Further detail of what can and cannot be supported is available in our Applicant Guidance available to download at the bottom of this page. Any organisation considering an application, regardless of whether they applied last time or not, should read this before submitting an expression of interest.

  1. Operating costs up to end of June 2021 up to a level sufficient to allow organisations to retain 12 weeks’ worth of operating costs in unrestricted cash reserves.
  2. Restoration of unrestricted reserves to 12 weeks’ worth of operating costs
  3. Re-start costs to get your organisation ready to start generating income again
  4. Critical building repairs and maintenance to your premises
  5. Business model review including professional advice and organisational restructuring
  6. Resilience building activity – we will prioritise activity that will have the most immediate impact on an organisation’s ability to generate income or deepen and demonstrate their value for society

What we cannot fund

  • Costs that can still be covered by the government’s Job Retention Scheme where staff remain on furlough, or additional salary costs above the furloughing cap
  • Costs that you will incur beyond 30 June 2021
  • Anything that contravenes the Scottish Government’s advice on COVID-19
  • Recoverable VAT
  • Costs already covered through other emergency support funding, for example through the MGS Urgent Response Fund or NLHF’s Heritage Emergency Fund
  • A sum to cover lost income over and above what is required to cover essential operating costs up until 30 June 2021 or to maintain reserves above the equivalent of 12 weeks’ of operating costs
  • Activity that is about simply resuming things planned prior to the pandemic that have not been reframed and refocused on building sustainability and resilience in the context of the challenges brought about by the pandemic
  • Debts pre-dating March 2020

How much can museums apply for?

We will assess the case for need for the amount requested in the context of the size of the organisation applying and evidenced by the information that they supply.

Assessment criteria

We expect there to be high demand for these funds and applications will be assessed and prioritised against the following criteria. Please see Applicant Guidance for further details about how these criteria will be applied:

  • The organisation’s financial need - our priority it to support the museums that are in most financial need.
  • The role the museum plays within its community with respect to cultural, social and economic impact
  • The impact our funding will have on your organisation in terms of supporting you to meet costs until June 2021 and build your resilience beyond that;

The above criteria will be used to prioritise applications but please note that you must also meet the following criteria. Your museum must;

  • Have been financially viable, or taking definite steps towards financial viability, before the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Be facing financial challenges as a direct result of Covid-19 that will put your organisation at risk in the immediate or near future
  • Have taken appropriate action to respond to the impact of Covid-19 to date (reducing costs where possible, applying to available support)
  • Have in place, or in development, clear and credible plans for working towards financial sustainability beyond 30 June 2021

If we award funding

If you are awarded a grant, you will be required to:

  • Submit monitoring reports for a minimum of 1 year updating MGS on progress against the activity outlined in your application, the impact it is having and on the financial health of your organisation
  • To participate in evaluation of the programme which may include a final report on the impact of the funding for your organisation and/or sharing of your learning with the wider sector
  • Publicise your grant in collaboration with our Communications department
  • Commit to take reasonable steps to protect the collections you are responsible for and to ensure ongoing access to them for the public.
  • Inform us of any significant changes that impact on your use of the funds
  • Retain financial and other documentation relating to the grant and comply with random sampling checks that MGS carries out to ensure appropriate use of the funds.

How to apply

Any organisation wishing to apply to the fund is required to submit an expression of interest to MGS no later than midday on 19 February. Details of how to do this are listed below, but prior to doing so, ALL potential applicants, regardless of whether they applied to round 1 or not, should download and read the Applicant Guidance available at the bottom of this page.

Organisations that applied to round 1

All grant contacts named in the original application will receive an email from MGS containing an expression of interest form. If you have not received this, please get in touch via the email address below.

You should complete this form and send it to . You must do this as a first step, please do not telephone or email individual staff members to discuss your ideas first. The purpose of completing this form is to enable us to respond to all enquiries as efficiently as possible.

Once we have received your form, someone from MGS will get back in touch with you to discuss your ideas and establish whether a formal application for a grant increase would be appropriate. If it is, you will be asked to complete an online form requesting specific updates on the information supplied in your original application, you will not be asked to complete a brand new application to the fund. Please note that an invitation to complete a formal grant increase request is not a guarantee of an award of more funds.

All expressions of interest must be sent to the above email as soon as possible and no later than midday on 19 February. We will begin responding as these come in but we are expecting high numbers of enquiries so please do not worry if you do not hear back from us straight away. If, following our discussion with you, we agree that a formal application for a grant increase is appropriate, you will have 2 weeks from the date that we confirm this to complete the online application update form.

Organisations wishing to apply for the first time

Any eligible organisation (please check the section ‘Who can apply for this funding?’ above) must email to let us know that you are interested in applying. Please include a very brief description of what you are seeking funds for but you do not need to go into detail on need. You must email your enquiry to the above address no later than midday 19 February. This will register as an official expression of interest and we will respond as quickly as we can to discuss your ideas with you. Please do not telephone or contact individual staff by email, doing so will not constitute an official expression of interest and will hamper our ability to respond to everyone as quickly as possible.

If, following our discussion with you, we advise that an application would be appropriate, we will send you a link to complete an online application form. From the point at which we issue this you will have 2 weeks to complete your application.

Support for making an application

All applicants will be given advice on submitting an application by MGS staff when we respond to your expression of interest. However, all applicants should download and read the Applicant Guidance document available below. You will find your discussion with our member of staff following your EOI most productive if you have read this guidance beforehand. Applicants that ignore this guidance are unlikely to be successful.