Making a difference with conservation grants

The Pilgrim Trust was delighted to announce its renewed partnership with AIM earlier this year, when we awarded £414,000 towards its popular grant scheme for Collections Care Audits and Remedial Conservation over the next three years. 

We started this funding relationship back in 2007 and since then over 500 awards have been made. We are proud of the constancy of our funding relationship, particularly as trusts and foundations, in the face of challenges such as the impact of Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis, have tough choices as to where they should direct their funds.

So why do we continue to support this programme? Does it make a difference? In our opinion the answer is a resounding yes!

The grant recipients are small and medium sized museums, with turnovers generally less than £100,000 and mostly volunteer led. The grants provide access to accredited conservation expertise that is not available in house, improves the care of collections, and develops the confidence, knowledge and skills of staff and volunteers with collections care practice.

The pages of this Bulletin regularly feature case studies demonstrating the good use that the recipients have made of the funds. The vast majority of the grants are under £5,000 – and that in itself is noteworthy. Contrary to popular perception, these days it is quite difficult to get small grants – many grant schemes have a de minimis threshold of £5,000-£10,000. In some quarters, there is a perception that the demand for small grants is not there and that such grants are not cost effective or too resource intensive to administer. This is why we highly value AIM as a funding partner with their connections, expertise and in-depth knowledge of the sector. They have designed a simple, straightforward programme tailored for members – many of whom are making their first foray into the funding landscape. These kind of grant programmes are an important part of the funding ecology and help to extend the reach of grants across the UK and to those with the least resources.

AIM’s grants are a great example of how a small injection of funding can make substantive improvements for recipients. We look forward to continuing our relationship with AIM over the coming years.

Sue Bowers, Director, Pilgrim Trust 

Image credit: Sue takes a trip on the restored Penelope II at the Windermere Jetty Museum – a conservation and preservation project supported by the Pilgrim Trust.

Click here to find out more about making an application for an AIM Pilgrim Trust grant>>

Click here to see the latest projects awarded an AIM Pilgrim Trust grant>>