Ready to Borrow Capital Grants

South West Museum Development delivers the Ready to Borrow Capital Grants Scheme (formally Small Scale Capital Grants Scheme) on behalf of Arts Council England (ACE) for the south west. The funds come from ACE’s Capital Department Expenditure Limit. The Ready to Borrow Capital Grants Scheme is a national programme of funding for the museum sector to help support ACE’s ten year strategic frame work Great Art and Culture for Everyone.  This funding stream is specifically designed to improve access to collections held by national museums and Major Partner Museums, by meeting collections care and security standards required by lenders for loaning objects, for example those required by the Government Indemnity Scheme (GIS).

The aims of the funding:

  • An increase in the number of Accredited non-national museums able to take loans from National museums or Major partner museums
  • An improvement in the longer term infrastructure and capacity to manage significant and strategic loans in the region

Grants of £15,000 – £50,000 are available to apply for projects delivered before June 2018. The scheme will be delivered in two rounds.

***This funding stream is now closed to applications***

What is this scheme for?

Grants are available for projects that enable museums to borrow objects and collections from Major Partner Museums and National Museums. Projects must help organisations meet the requirements required by lending organisations which fall into the National or Major Partner Museum category. Whilst it is not essential that projects meet all requirements of the GIS scheme for example, it is expected that significant progress should be made in the areas of security and environmental conditions.

Grants can be used for the following expenditure related to the project:

  • buying assets such as furniture and equipment such as display cases
  • installing new technologies and upgrading buildings to deliver increased production and broadcast capacity
  • buying digital and broadcast equipment such as cables, cameras or screens
  • environmental sustainability costs including installing or retrofitting sustainable technologies for example those that reduce the energy used to heat, cool and light galleries / exhibition spaces
  • professional fees associated with capital spending on your project, providing the appointments have been made in accordance with the procurement requirements stated in the application guidance
  • legal fees associated with capital spending on your project
  • VAT that you cannot recover from HM Revenue and Customs
  • Building work if you have our written agreement beforehand
Is my organisation eligible to apply?

Museums that are Accredited, provisionally Accredited, officially Working Towards Accreditation following the receipt of a letter confirming eligibility[1] from ACE in the South West except ACE Major Partner Museums[2].

Grant recipients of Round 1 of the Ready to Borrow Capital Grant Scheme or the Small Scale Capital Scheme are eligible to apply. However, projects funded under the R2B scheme or the SSCG Scheme must be complete and the submission of all required documentation approved and signed off by the scheme lead prior to the commencement of a project funded under the Ready to Borrow Capital Grants Scheme.

[1] Letter confirming eligibility of working towards Accreditation status must have a valid date; be within the maximum of two renewals and within 36 months of eligibility.

[2] ACE Major Partner Museums are: Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Plymouth Museum & Art Gallery, Falmouth Art Gallery, National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, Royal Cornwall Museum, Wheal Martyn.

Full scheme guidance and how to apply

It is strongly recommended that applicants read the full scheme guidance and discuss their proposal with their local Museum Development Officer or the scheme lead before embarking on the application process. The full scheme guidance is available here: Ready to Borrow Scheme Guidance Notes Round 2

The application is a two stage process. Applicants must first submit an Expression of Interest. Expression of Interests will be assessed by a panel and successful applicants will be invited to make a full application.

The Expression of Interest form can be downloaded here: Ready to Borrow EOI Form Round 2 and the full application form can be viewed here: Ready to Borrow Application Form Round 2 .

Applicants must use the application form(s) provided. Full editable application forms will only be made available to successful Expression of Interest applicants.

Acknowledgement Guidelines for Successful Applicants

Arts Council England and SWMD branding should be acknowledged when promoting the grant and / or project in press, marketing and communications materials, verbally and in writing. The Organisation will use both logos, appropriately on all published material including printed and online material.Appropriate logos for Arts Council England can be found at:

SWMDP Logo is available to download below. Please click on the link and then right click on the image to save as to download the JPEG to your computer.

Do you have questions about this scheme?

Please contact the grant scheme lead Roz Bonnet at or 0117 922 3618.