Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF)

beach in south harris

The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund supports new opportunities to promote the outstanding scenery, wildlife and culture of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in ways which support inclusive and sustainable economic growth. It will help to retain jobs and sustain populations and services in rural communities.

The NCHF map of the Highlands and Islands area covered by the fund.

This Challenge Fund of £5million of ERDF money is being made available through a single competitive funding round opening in January 2019 and closing in April 2019. We’re looking to use this money to support around 10 major projects to be delivered by 2022. Projects must be seeking an ERDF grant of a minimum of £250k. The total eligible project costs must be a minimum of £360k.  Projects will only be supported if they demonstrate sensitive management and safeguarding of those heritage assets for future generations.

This Fund will support:
•  Interpretive media to promote natural and cultural heritage assets consistent with sensitive management and sustainable use
•  Infrastructure investment to expand the provision of tourist facilities
•  Improved accessibility, interpretation and quality of visitor experiences
•  New products or services based on the region's natural and cultural resources, particularly for the tourism sector.

The Fund is one of the Strategic Interventions (SI) in the 2014–2020 European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme.  The aim of the ERDF is to invest in communities to help them to grow economic activity and employment.  The Fund can contribute up to 70% of project costs and will deliver a total value of £7,126,650 of investment throughout the course of the programme, including the match funding which applicants are required to find.

For more information on European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) in Scotland, visit the Scottish Government's ESIF website and Scot Gov ESIF Twitter page