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£5 Million Funding Boost for New Heritage Development Trusts to Revive Unused Historic Buildings Across the UK

The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) today announced a three-year partnership programme to save heritage across the UK – by empowering people to come together to revive unused buildings and support expert regeneration in some of the UK’s most deprived places and communities. Expressions of Interest for this new programme open today.

The pioneering community approach builds on AHF’s successful pilot Heritage Development Trust (HDT) initiative, which supported seven trusts across England with revenue funding, grants to develop plans for historic building projects and specialist advice as they scale up their activities.

This new long-term partnership will expand the current HDT programme across the UK, to cover a range of organisations, from small volunteer-led trusts looking to expand, through mid-tier trusts with the potential for growth, to well-established, larger trusts that are looking to make a larger impact in a particular community, place or wider area. 

The new Heritage Development Trusts will receive a package of funding that includes three-year revenue grants between £55k-£70k per annum, as well as guidance from consultants and mentors to develop their skills and knowledge alongside peer-to-peer support to expand their network of contacts, with regular events to share expertise and experience. They will also be eligible to apply for project viability grants and project development grants to help bring historic buildings back into use.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the AHF are working in partnership to fund trusts across the UK because both organisations are committed to strengthening the capability and resilience of trusts in the built heritage sector. Established trusts will be supported to grow a pipeline of projects and expand their portfolio with the aim of making them more sustainable and connecting people and communities to the UK heritage.

As well as grant funding, additional support will be given to develop the skills of volunteers and established groups who want to turn their passion into a reality and revive unused buildings to give them a new purpose and place in their community.

What is a Heritage Development Trust?

Heritage Development Trusts conserve, redevelop and look after a portfolio of historic buildings to benefit their local area. They are community-led charities or social enterprises that work in partnership with local government, business and other charities to bring about place-based regeneration through the reuse of historic buildings.

This new programme is looking to support such organisations to develop portfolios of historic buildings from which they can generate income, ensuring these important trusts become resilient and financially sustainable. 

During the pilot programme, this support enabled Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust to work on more projects than ever before, including regenerating a row of Georgian merchants’ houses in Sunderland’s High Street West. One house was in severe disrepair and threatened with demolition, but through a partnership with Pop Recs, originally a pop-up record store, the Trust has transformed the building into a vibrant coffee shop, music venue and bar, adding much needed cultural infrastructure to the town and enhancing the area.

How to Apply

Organisations will be required to submit an Expression of Interest by 9 am on Monday 26 June. Trusts that are shortlisted will be invited to submit a full application by September, and decisions on grant funding will be made in December 2023.

Further information on funding, eligibility and how to apply are available on AHF’s website at https://ahfund.org.uk/grants/hdt/  or by signing up to online workshops in May and June. Full details on dates and timings are available as follows:

Fri 26th May, 11:00 – 12:00

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/641217196897

Fri 2nd June, 10:00 – 11:00

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/641226474647

Thu 8th June, 13:00 – 14:00

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/641234829637

Wed 14th June, 10:00 – 11:00

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/641237116477

Matthew Mckeague, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund, said: “The AHF has been supporting heritage trusts to conserve and reuse historic buildings for nearly fifty years, and over that time we have learned that partnership is often the key to long-term success.

“Partnership is at the root of the Heritage Development Trust model – where trusts partner with local authorities and end-users to turn ‘problem buildings’ into thriving  assets that benefit their communities.

“This partnership with The National Lottery Heritage Fund sees our organisations come together through shared recognition of the importance of heritage development trusts to the health of our sector and places across the UK and a commitment to support them to do more in the years ahead.

“We are grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and players of The National Lottery for making this programme possible.”

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “As the UK’s largest funder of heritage we collaborate with organisations who share our vision for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone’s future.

“Our partnership with the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) will ensure that community organisations have access to funding and expertise empowering them to save heritage, and to invest for the long-term, supporting some of the most deprived places in the UK to thrive.

“The work of Heritage Development Trusts shows the power of heritage to inspire, and to build pride in place and connection to the past, as well as tangible and positive change now and for future generations.

“Over the next 10 years, we aim to invest £3.6billion raised for good causes by National Lottery players and this programme is one of the ways we’ll be able to make a decisive difference for people, places and the natural environment.”

Source: https://ahfund.org.uk/

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