Children playing musical instruments
Children playing musical instruments as part of Action For Hope's Music Schools project ©

Action for Hope

Grants awarded to new and existing projects to protect heritage and create opportunities for sustainable development

The £30m Cultural Protection Fund is now supporting 51 projects in and around the Middle East and North Africa.  

The British Council has been awarding grants to organisations to protect heritage at risk through competitive funding rounds since the Cultural Protection Fund launched in 2016.

Due to high levels of interest in the fund since we launched, nearly all of the £30m had been allocated to projects towards the end of 2018. We therefore launched a one-off closing round in December 2018 for projects taking place in the last year of the 2016-2020 fund. In this one-off round, new applicants could apply for grants up to £300k and existing grantees were able to apply for extensions to their projects to build on their successes so far. We received a record number of applications in this round – the highest number in an individual round so far.

The applications were assessed through a competitive process, and after a difficult decision meeting, we are delighted to award six new grants, and thirteen grant extensions to existing projects. Now that all of the grants in the closing round have been awarded and the full £30m is allocated to protect heritage at risk, we are working closely with our partners at DCMS on the continuation of the fund beyond 2020. In the meantime, we continue to support our grantees with their ongoing projects until March 2020. 

You can find out more about some of the new grants awarded below or see our full list of projects here.

You can also sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date on future funding opportunities. 

Highlights from the closing round:

  • In Iraq, we continue to support minority and refugee communities to explore and safeguard their cultural identities through engagement with their cultural heritage. Through a new grant awarded to AMAR International Charitable Organisation, traditional Yazidi music will be recorded and archived, and music teachers will be trained to deliver educational programmes to 500 Yazidis. This award builds upon our previous support for Iraq’s Yazidi community through Liverpool University’s grant to engage displaced youth in the documentation of traditions associated with historic Yazidi shrines.
  • In a second phase of World Monuments Fund Britain’s Syrian Stonemasonry Programme, Syrian refugees who excelled in the first phase of training will gain advanced skills in stonemasonry and conservation through an accredited six-month training course, providing further preparation for employment in Jordan or Syria.  In keeping with the first training course – where 40% of graduates were female – gender equality continues to be an important objective for this project. In Lebanon and Jordan, 54 graduates from Action for Hope’s Music Schools for Refugees will build upon their education in traditional music with further training to enable them to perform at a professional level.
  • Two of our existing projects focusing on Bedouin cultural heritage are now collaborating on a project extension which will deliver a regional event for Bedouins from Lebanon, Syria, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Iraq and Egypt to discuss issues affecting their livelihoods and cultural practices, propose actions and policies and explore opportunities for reconnections.  
  • We are also pleased to be supporting several new projects across the museum, libraries, galleries and archives sector.  This includes vital conservation work to preserve medieval Coptic manuscripts in Egypt; restoration of several paintings damaged by the Taliban in Kabul; and establishment of the first paper-based conservation studio in the West Bank. At Basrah Museum in Iraq, an extension has been given to create a heritage resource centre which will house and share the British Institute for the Study of Iraq’s (BISI) library collection, which has been largely inaccessible for the last 28 years.
  • Finally, we now have four projects taking place in Yemen, where active conflict has inflicted significant damage on the country’s heritage.  The most recent grant was awarded to the Prince Claus Fund for the repair and restoration of important cultural landmarks.