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3 Spital Yard
Spitalfields, , E1 6AQ
United Kingdom

020 7925 0199

The AHF appreciates that neglected buildings which are all too familiar in our towns, cities and countryside can, with a little imagination and a lot of enthusiasm, be rescued to become assets for their communities by people wanting to make a difference. The AHF has helped hundreds of organisations throughout the UK to do exactly that.

AHF- Pipe Factory 150916 (c) Colin McLean-0565.jpg

Community Heritage Support Fund

Community Heritage Support Fund

As the primary Social Investor in the Heritage Sector, and with 40 years of experience of supporting and providing financial assistance to not-for-profit organisations and community businesses, the Architectural Heritage Fund is delighted to launch its new investment programme: the Community Heritage Support Fund.

Our core purpose is to help communities across the UK develop appropriate and economically-viable uses for historic buildings, and this Fund will provide supportive investment into enterprises which benefit from the UK’s architectural heritage and consequently seek to improve the lives of people in our communities. Our blended investments will focus on supporting not only a building or building project, but also on the activities and sustainability of those community and social businesses which are working with or within buildings of heritage significance, to  enable organisations to become established, deliver, survive and then thrive.

The Community Heritage Support Fund can provide either:
standalone unsecured loan finance, or;
a blend of both loan finance and community shares

Such facilities will enable community businesses to focus on both the short-term funded activity needed to ramp up its income generation, reduce overheads, or support its cashflow, while also providing longer-term capital by way of community shares. Generally, the Support Fund will be made available to enterprises which already trade, or those seeking funding to help secure the purchase or restoration of a building which is listed as an Asset of Community Value. 

The Fund will provide financial assistance in a number of ways, examples of some of which are given below:

  • To catalyse activities which will increase an enterprise’s revenue streams and contribute to more viable and long-term projects, thereby increasing opportunities for growth and the sustainability of community businesses through the use of heritage assets (as current tenants or freeholders of a listed building, for example)
    • For example, a social enterprise trading from a listed building which needs to purchase kitchen equipment to expand its cafe business; or an existing business which requires capital funding to purchase green energy equipment to reduce overheads and better meet its social mission.
  • To help assist and encourage further investment into those community businesses seeking to fund a new community project
    • This could be a community purchase of a Grade II-listed pub or shop which needs working capital to fit out the premises in order to open to the public. A community share purchase alongside this could be used to provide support and consultancy to build its capacity or improve its investment readiness
  • Grant bridging – providing short-term finance while awaiting an approved grant to be received
  • To provide short-term working capital support for community businesses
    • Perhaps a charity which has completed a restoration project, but is having difficulties with cashflow in its initial months of trading from that building; or to enable a community business to support the delivery of a new payment-by-results contract.

Our Terms

The Support Fund will be open to UK organisations with a built heritage focus, which operate on a not-for-private profit basis, and which bring about demonstrable and positive impacts upon their respective communities and society as a whole. 

Please contact a member of the AHF’s Investment Team before submitting any application.            

  • Investment sum:                      £15,000 - £50,000
  • Maximum share purchase:    20% of total investment
  • Interest Rates:                          typically 6.5-10%
  • Arrangement fee:                    1.5% of total investment
  • Term of loan:                            6 months – 3 years
  • Security:                                    none, though Personal Guarantees may be required
  • Loan repayment terms:         Capital and interest only, though up to 6-month initial capital      and/or payment moratorium may be considered.
  • Community shares:                 Available to assist with capacity-building or investment readiness, and to be issued in line with its current share offer. The AHF will not generally seek to withdraw its shares within a minimum of five years from the date of purchase.

Other fees may be required depending upon the nature of the application such as a Commitment Fee, and the legal costs incurred by the AHF will be borne by the applicant.

The Investment Team will be happy to give further details and advice.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The legal form of the organisation which is applying must be one which is currently eligible for existing AHF loan programmes.
  • Applicants must be based in the UK.
  • The building must have statutory protection through national listing, or be in a Conservation Area.
  • Applicants must demonstrate how it considers itself to be a social enterprise or community business.
  • Applications from Community Benefit Societies which have already or are considering the launch of a community share issue will be especially welcomed.
  • Applicants must have traded for a minimum of 6 months unless the investment request is to support the purchase of an Asset of Community Value, in which case it must be accompanied by a community share issue.
  • Community share purchases will generally be made to assist with capacity-building or investment readiness activities only, and should be issued to the AHF in line with the applicant’s current share offer. The AHF will not generally seek to withdraw its shares within a minimum of five years from the date of purchase.
  • Upon application, the following must be provided to the AHF’s satisfaction:
    • governing documents (with asset lock and power to borrow, and objectives which clearly state social purpose);
    • a contemporary business plan;
    • recent trading figures;
    • a minimum of three years’ cashflow forecasts;
    • evidence of statutory listing or conservation area within which the building is situated;
    • mini-biogs of all Directors/Trustees;
    • any other supporting documentation which may be helpful (eg. costings, valuation report, etc.);
    • any applicant applying for community shares must be able to provide the AHF with an appropriate share certificate.

Small Print

Rates: As is usual with many social investors, our interest rates are decided through risk-adjusted pricing, in that it is based upon the strength of each application we receive, and the security that is available.

Costs and fees: Loans attract an arrangement fee of typically 1.5% of the value of the loan, depending upon the nature of the application. Legal fees incurred by the AHF and any necessary valuation fees are borne by the Borrower. Other fees may be required depending upon the nature of the application such as a Commitment Fee.

Generally there will be no penalty for early repayment of any of our investments.