Inspired by the role Great Britain played in the First World War, our Founder Edward Harkness endowed the Pilgrim Trust to enable it to meet some of the more ‘urgent’ needs of the UK. From the Trust’s inception, these needs included preserving the nation’s ‘material treasures’. The focus has changed over the years, but for many years now our main attention has been on preserving historic buildings and sites, and conserving significant collections and artefacts so that the general public can explore and enjoy them.
What we fund
We give grants to charities and public bodies that preserve the fabric of historically important buildings, conserve significant collections and promote knowledge through academic research. We give particular consideration to:
-Preservation of, and repairs to, buildings or architectural features of outstanding architectural or historic importance particularly those at risk
-Conservation of important artefacts and collections
-Promotion of knowledge and its dissemination through academic research within institutions where historic, scientific or archaeological records are preserved.
Please note: this list is not exhaustive and we strongly recommend reading our Funding Guidelines for more information on what and who we do and do not fund.
Notably, the Trust currently distributes some of its grants through a number of strategic partnerships with bodies, such as the Association of Independent Museums, the National Churches Trust and The National Archives. Our funding guidelines also share details of grants we make with our Partners, and how you can apply for those grants separately.
Our Trustees always try to use their funds imaginatively. We are often the first funder for small, local or volunteer-led organisations and support projects where it might be difficult to raise funds from elsewhere. In addition, we also fund when we see potential to get a project started and see ourselves as a ‘stepping stone’ funder to enable an organisation to reach a point where it can apply for major grants.
Applying for a grant
We welcome applications for our Preservation and Scholarship fund at any time. There are no deadlines for sending in an application.
We assess applications in two stages. Our Stage One application is quick and easy. The application collects key details about your project and ensures you are eligible for funding. You will get a response within four weeks. If you are successful, you will be invited to complete a Stage Two application, where you will set out your proposal in full.
Our Trustees make all of our grant awards. They meet quarterly normally in March, June, September and November. Once your application is submitted, we will let you know when it will be considered.
Our Small Grants scheme is for grants of £5,000 or less, while our Main Grants scheme is for over £5,000. Small Grants are considered on a rolling basis between Board meetings.
Ready to apply? Click here to go to our application page.
Photo credit: Tommy Pengilley & John Taylor’s Bell Foundry