Mills Rescue Fund

Guidance for applicants

The Mills Rescue Fund was originally established by Cymdeithas Melinau Cymru – Welsh Mills Society using revenue generated by the sale of recovered mill machinery and millstones. Over the years, the fund has been augmented by surplus annual income, donations and legacies. Small discretionary grants are available for repairs to traditional windmills and watermills in Wales.

  1. What is the purpose of the Mills Rescue Fund?

The purpose of the Mills Rescue Fund is to help preserve and/or restore something that might otherwise be lost, to retain and maintain as much as possible of the existing structure and machinery of a mill, in order to conserve the historical and technical integrity.

Drawing on the SPAB Mills Section philosophy of repair: then as a general guide a mill should be repaired in a traditional and sympathetic manner, a rule that applies to the exterior as much as the interior. In addition to the mill any ancillary machinery, engines and buildings, kilns, granaries, cart sheds and other related outbuildings are all part of the history and development of the mill and so also worthy of support. Such grants shall be awarded:

  • to contribute towards emergency repairs or holding repairs to a mill;
  • for mill repair costs where an owner or volunteer group is undertaking work that would not be eligible for grant aid from other bodies; and
  • to augment other grants and/or match funding from other bodies contributing towards mill repair costs.
  1. How much funding is available and how is it allocated?

Most grants awarded shall be in the region of £250-£500. The maximum amount of any grant will be £500, except in very exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the Committee. The maximum emergency grant shall be £250. The level of grant is acknowledged to be a contribution with an aim of securing match funding. To this end it is expected that any grant shall not exceed 20% of the cost of any works proposed.

Grants to successful applicants shall be awarded following discussion of the application by the Committee of Cymdeithas Melinau Cymru -Welsh Mills Society.

  1. Who can apply for funding?

The following can apply for a grant:

  • Individuals who are members of the Welsh Mills Society

  • Constituted voluntary and community groups

  • Registered charities

  • Not-for-profit organisations / social enterprises

  • Local branches of national third sector organisations – who can bid using the parent body’s constitution, but they must have their own bank account. We will also require confirmation that the parent body supports the application

  • Informally or formally constituted consortia working on a particular project.

All the organisations involved in an informal consortium must be eligible in their own right and must provide a copy of their constitution or governing document. The application form should be completed by the lead organisation that will be legally responsible for the grant and who will receive the grant monies should the application be successful.

All organisations in receipt of a grant are expected to become members of the Welsh Mills Society.

  1. What can be funded?

Grants are generally available for capital costs. In all cases, direct professional consultancy fees (e.g. building surveyors, architects, structural engineers etc.) are excluded.

4.1.  Capital Costs

Any repair work should retain and maintain as much as possible of the existing structure and machinery of the mill in order to preserve the historical and technical integrity of the mill. In addition to the mill and the mill building, other features including the leat, water supply, mill pond, kiln, etc. are included. All works, both temporary and permanent, should be completed using traditional materials and methods. Appropriate advice and guidance should be obtained from recognised organisations e.g., Works must be carried out in accordance with any relevant planning control, listed building consent etc.

Funding for capital costs can include:

  • Site investigation, clearance and preparation works
  • Building and / or refurbishment costs
  • Fixtures and fittings directly related to the mill
  • Work on water supply, mill pond repairs, sluice work etc.

Grant money shall not normally be given for any works associated with hydro-electricity schemes.

4.2. Revenue Costs

In exceptional circumstances grants towards revenue costs may include:

  • Apportioned heating and lighting costs for emergency rescue projects
  • Pumping or de-watering costs to enable works to take place
  • External painting, rendering or other works
  1. How does the process work?

    5.1. Expression of Interest

Contact Cymdeithas Melinau Cymru -Welsh Mills Society Secretary by email at to register your project and request an Expression of Interest form (EOI) and to access any support required.

If information provided on the EOI indicates that the project is likely to be eligible, applicants will be invited to complete and submit a full application.

All applications received shall be considered by the Committee, except those for urgent emergency repairs which may be approved by the Chairman and Treasurer of Cymdeithas Melinau Cymru -Welsh Mills Society. In certain cases, the Committee may request additional information before an application can be considered.

5.2. Number of Applications.

Mill Rescue Fund grant aid could potentially be used to fund different stages of a project, with a further application being made once a phase has been completed. The award of grant funding for one phase of a project does not guarantee that you will be awarded a grant for further phases.

5.3. Submitting and Application.

Completed applications must be submitted via email to Cymdeithas Melinau Cymru – Welsh Mills Society’s Secretary at On submission of an application, an acknowledgement will be issued, and the application will be checked to ensure that all necessary information and documents have been provided prior to consideration by the Committee. Proposed works must be specified to the satisfaction of the Committee. Any departure from the specification must be agreed by the Committee before any work is commenced/continued.

5.4. Assessing the Application

The Committee will assess applications against the criteria described above. Any Committee member who has an interest in an application to the Fund shall declare such interest and shall not be present during any discussion of the matter by the Committee. Particular consideration will be given to:

  • The nature of the works proposed and whether they conform to best practice for the repair and preservation of historical buildings
  • All relevant permissions, permits being in place

Unsuccessful applicants will receive feedback and, if appropriate, and be invited to re-submit or provided with information on alternative funding sources. The Committee’s decision shall be final.

  1. Award of the Grant

The award of the grant is subject to the following:

  • Grants will normally only be given for work that has not commenced at the time of application. Before any offer of a grant can be made it may be necessary for a representative of the Society to inspect the mill.
  • Grants will normally only be paid on completion of the works to the satisfaction of the Committee and on presentation of invoices from suppliers. An individual nominated by the Committee may inspect the work after completion.
  • Grants should normally be claimed within two years of the offer being made.
  • All consents required must be approved before any proposed work is carried out.
  • Publicity and acknowledgements – all organisations in receipt of Mills Fund grant funding must acknowledge Cymdeithas Melinau Cymru – Welsh Mills Society in all publicity and media generated about their successful project. The applicants must provide information and photographs for use by the Society in any suitable promotion. The final 10% of the grant may be withheld until such materials have been received by the Secretary of the Society.
  • A report on any grants that have been given will be published at the end of each financial year in the Annual Report and in the Newsletter of Cymdeithas Melinau Cymru – Welsh Mills Society.
  • Any grant should normally be repaid if the mill for which the money has been given is sold within three years of the awarding of the grant.

Any additional requirements for projects in receipt of capital funding may be outlined in the offer letter.

If you would like to contribute to our work on Mill Rescue then please donate here.