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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.

News Source

AHF welcomes three new Trustees

Architectural Heritage Fund

Three high profile trustees have joined the board at the Architectural Heritage Fund bringing a wealth of skills and experience; Suzanne Snowden, David Hunter and Sue Brown.

Sue Brown, David Hunter and Suzanne Snowden

Sue Brown, David Hunter and Suzanne Snowden

The appointments come as the organisation continues to drive forward a business development plan of expansion, investment and modernisation for the charity.

Chair Liz Peace said, ‘I am delighted Suzanne, David and Sue have agreed to join AHF’s Board and lend their considerable talents and experience to assist the current trustees and staff refine and develop our charitable business activities. We are so fortunate to have been able to attract such high-calibre individuals with the skills we need to implement our exciting three-year strategy and to achieve our ambitious goals. With their help we will be able to provide more assistance to people across the UK with their efforts in rescuing historic buildings and turning them into valuable community assets.

Sue Brown
Sue Brown had an early career in local government, after which she joined the London Docklands Development Corporation, where she was Executive Assistant to its first Chief Executive Reg Ward. Following a thirty year career in real estate communications, she joined London First as Executive Director of Planning and Development in August 2016.

At London First, Sue leads on policy events and initiatives, managing the business interests of property and development stakeholders, as well as working with the Mayor’s office and local government on matters affecting the industry. At London First, Sue Brown is directing the recently established London Urban Transformation Commission. Sue co-founded REWIRE in 2015, a cross-industry network that works to strengthen the role of women in the property industry.

David Hunter
As Chairman of a leading UK based real estate debt fund manager, David Hunter brings experience directly relevant to the activities of the AHF. David is a professional Non-executive Director and Strategic Adviser focused principally on UK and International real estate.He is currently either Chairman or Non-executive Director of various companies, listed and unlisted, overseeing investments in the UK, India, and South Africa. 

David qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 1978 and his background is as a fund manager, most significantly from 2001 till 2004 as Managing Director of Aberdeen Asset Management’s £6.5bn UK and International property fund business. He was President of the British Property Federation in 2004.  He is Honorary Swedish Consul to Glasgow, is an Honorary Professor of Real Estate at Heriot-Watt University and is on the Board of Dundee Design Ltd which is creating the iconic V&A Museum in Dundee. David divides his time between Glasgow and London.

Suzanne Snowden
Bringing knowledge around brand, communications and digital marketing is Suzanne Snowden, Global Director of Thought Leadership at PwC who leads the firm’s content-marketing activities. With a wide experience of delivering complex international projects, she is passionate about using technology to raise awareness around preserving historic buildings.

Prior to her current role she worked as a strategy consultant as well as holding leadership roles in business development, marketing and client service teams. She is programme director for a number of PwC's flagship research projects including PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey launched each year during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. 


Come work with us - we're recruiting in Northern Ireland, Wales and NE England!

Architectural Heritage Fund

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is expanding its team of Support Officers. We are recruiting freelance part-time contractors in North East England and Northern Ireland and also an employed full-time post in Wales, all to start from April 2017.

Home-based, our Support Officers assist local communities who are seeking to rescue and re-utilise a historic building which they value. The AHF places particular emphasis on targeting help towards supporting community enterprises that wish to set up and/or grow their businesses in historic buildings, particularly those that are at risk and/or transferred from public ownership. Working as part of the Operations Team, each Support Officer will take a proactive approach to tackling heritage at risk by actively seeking out new projects and new types of beneficiaries of AHF support, in collaboration with the Heritage Lottery Fund and other partners.

Find out more at

People Power Brings New Life to Unused Church

Harriet Roberts

A battle by villagers in South Somerset to rescue and regenerate a closed Methodist church has been successful. Councillors in Stoke sub Hamdon have been campaigning to purchase the building to become a much-needed youth centre. They have also received a £3000 Project Viability Grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund towards solicitors’ fees and building surveyors.

This is the first successful Community Right to Bid sale in South Somerset since the legislation was introduced in 2012, and is a tremendous achievement for the village.

The Council are purchasing the Church for £130,000, which is lower than the value given in the surveyor's report. The Methodist Church are only able to sell at under market value in very exceptional circumstances under charity law, and Trustees ensured that a rigorous audit and evaluation process was followed before making their decision. The Methodist Church is keen to support community use and youth work in particular. The Council have been grateful for the support and continued encouragement from South Somerset District Council’s Area North team, and Somerset County Council’s Youth Service throughout the process.

The building will become the new Hamdon Youth and Family Centre, and will provide a much needed facility for the younger members of the village to meet. Many of the existing groups and clubs are without a permanent home and a place to store their equipment. The Centre will be managed by a user-led charitable trust under a management agreement with the Parish Council. The Centre will complement the adult use of the village Memorial Hall and significantly improve community facilities in the village.

Barbara Brooks, the Chair of the Parish Council said “this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our village. It has been great having councillors and residents working alongside each other in our Working Party to make a positive difference for generations to come. Work will now begin on the legal processes of title transfer.”

Ian Morrison, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund said, “This is great news. We are delighted to support the villlagers in Stoke sub Hamdon. Thanks to support from Historic England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and through a team of regional support officers, our grants and loans can empower and enable people to regenerate empty spaces like this to become important assets to communities again.”



Stoke sub Hamdon Methodist Church

Stoke sub Hamdon Methodist Church

Grant Funding for Library Rescue Group

Harriet Roberts

A community group fighting to re-open a 102 year old library received good news last month.  The Architectural Heritage Fund have agreed a Project Viability Fund grant of £5000 towards research which will enable a buildings evaluation to take place to assess whether the library in Oswaldtwistle, Hyndburn in Lancashire has a commercially viable future.

The funding was applied for by Gayle Knight from the Civic Arts Centre and Theatre on behalf of the local community and will be matched by funding from Hyndburn Borough Council. The overall aim of the Viability Study is to identify a sustainable future for the library and provide support for further funding bids for maintenance work and community projects.

A former Carnegie Library built in 1915, Oswaldtwistle Library closed its doors in September 2016 alongside around 40 other community buildings in the county.

Ian Morrison, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund said: ‘Thanks to support from Historic England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and through a team of regional support officers we are able to help local people who feel passionately about rescuing historic buildings at risk. Our grants enable groups to take those first important steps to restoring and regenerating properties which have both heritage and community value.’

Gayle Knight, Civic Arts Centre and Theatre explained:  ‘The proposed project is a community asset transfer of the library to a new group, The Oswaldtwistle Lamp, which is already constituted but would become a Community Interest Company if they decide to take the project forward.  The idea is for the library to be run as a book exchange, community venue with the proposed addition of a café. Books can be returned, kept or handed on for someone else to read. The aspiration is to extend the range of community groups and clubs using the library so that it is busy all the time. This also includes extending the connection that the library already has with local schools. A small café facility to the library would be useful but a feasibility study to check if this would generate income is needed.’

Pictured: Ian Garbutt, Chris Brindle and Cllr Peter Britcliffe



Medieval Barn's Funding Boost

Harriet Roberts

One of the country’s few surviving medieval barns with a history preceding the great plagues is a step closer to becoming a hub for the local community nearly 700 years after it was originally built.

The Grade II* listed Medieval Barn in Winterbourne, South Gloucestershire, is a building of national importance. It is an outstanding example of a raised cruck construction and its magnificent roof structure has remained largely intact since it was built in 1342.

Local people have been working for 20 years to save the barn, which was on the verge of dereliction.  In 2002 major work funded by English Heritage and the Landfill Tax scheme stabilised the barn structure, and since then volunteers have worked tirelessly, through Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust (WMBT), to conserve and repair the barn and its surrounding site.  They are delighted to announce that they have been offered funding of up to £19,900 from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF). The funding will go towards professional fees in support of the Barn's second round application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This is the first offer WMBT has received towards their target of £400,000 needed as part of the HLF project.

The Barn, also known as Court Farm Barn, was commissioned by Sir Thomas de Bradeston, then Lord of the Manor of Winterbourne, who had played a part in all of Edward lll's military campaigns and served in Parliament.

WMBT has exciting plans to conserve the Medieval Barn and refurbish it along with its associated outbuildings to provide a flexible space for a variety of community, educational and commercial uses based around heritage and rural skills, to ensure the Barn's long-term sustainability in the local community.

In May 2016, Development Funding of £165,000 was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust and South Gloucestershire Council progress proposals to apply for further HLF funding in 2017. HLF grant applications are assessed in two rounds. Success in the first round demonstrated the HLF's endorsement of the outline proposals for the Barn, and is now enabling WMBT and SGC to draw up detailed proposals for the final (second round) bid.

Total funding of £1.645m is required for the project, and if the final bid is successful the HLF will provide £1.045m of this (including the initial development funding).

WMBT has to raise £400,000 by December 2017 to ensure that the plans can go ahead, and the grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is the first step towards this goal.

The funding will contribute towards professional fees required for the architect, structural engineer, ecologist, etc.

Sue Parsons, Chairman of the WMBT said, ‘The Trust is very grateful to the AHF and is excited to know that they are now a step closer to ensuring that the Barn will survive to be enjoyed by the current community and future generations.”

Ian Morrison, Chief Executive of Architectural Heritage Fund said, ‘Thanks to support from Historic England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and through a team of regional support officers we are able to help groups like the Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust who feel passionately about rescuing historic buildings at risk. This is a great example of how AHF grants and loans can enable groups to take important steps in their journeys to restore and regenerate properties which have both heritage and community value.’



Congratulations Blackburn - Your Win is Our Loss!

Harriet Roberts

Congratulations to our North East Support Officer, Harriet Roberts who led the entry on behalf of the partnerships in Blackburn town centre, Lancashire to achieve overall victory in the Great British High Street Awards.

Harriet is also a freelance consultant manager to the Blackburn BID (Business Improvement District) where she has been working for three years to bring about cross sector collaboration and raising the profile of the town against a backdrop of multi-million pound regeneration.

Harriet will be leaving her posts at the Architectural Heritage Fund and with Heritage Open Days at the National Trust to focus on her work in Blackburn. We wish her continued success.

AHF opens doors for Theatre Campaigners

Harriet Roberts

Architectural Heritage Fund provides grant support for Burnley Empire Theatre Viability Study

Release date: 20 January 2017

Campaigners fighting to rescue and restore a derelict theatre in Burnley have received good news this week.  The Architectural Heritage Fund has agreed a Project Viability Fund grant of £4000 towards the second phase of the Burnley Empire Viability Study which will allow the group to undertake a buildings evaluation and assess whether the theatre has a commercially viable future.

The funding was applied for by Theatres Trust, on behalf of the Burnley Empire Stakeholders Group, and will be matched by funding raised by Burnley Empire Theatres Trust (BETT).  Other members of the Stakeholders Group include Burnley Council, Burnley College, the University of Central Lancashire and Burnley and District Civic Trust.  The first phase of the Viability Study was funded by Theatres Trust and Burnley Council, and concluded in December 2016. The overall aim of the Viability Study is to identify a sustainable future for the Grade II Burnley Empire, and provide support for further funding bids which are likely to be needed to restore the theatre.

Burnley Empire has appeared on the Theatres Trust Theatre Buildings at Risk Register for 8 years. Designed by local Burnley architect G B Rawcliffe, the building was reconstructed and enlarged in 1911 by renowned theatre architect Bertie Crewe. The building, which it is believed served as the wartime home to the Old Vic, Sadler’s Wells Ballet and Sadler’s Wells Opera, has now lain vacant for over 20 years, and is in a poor state of repair.

Ian Morrison, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund said: ‘Thanks to support from Historic England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and through a team of regional support officers we are able to help local people who feel passionately about rescuing historic buildings at risk. Our grants enable groups to take those first important steps to restoring and regenerating properties which have both heritage and community value.’

Claire Appleby, Architecture Adviser Theatres Trust said:  ‘Theatres Trust, the National Advisory Public Body for Theatres, has long been concerned about the future of this theatre.  We have been delighted to support the commitment shown by its local community which has resulted in the formation of BETT, and have enjoyed working with BETT, Burnley Council and other stakeholders to identify a future for this building. We are incredibly grateful for this support from the Architectural Heritage Fund, which will play an important role in this.’

Credits: Photography courtesy Craig Simpson & Mark Salmon


Burnley Empire Theatre

Former AHF Deputy Chairman, Roy Dantzic, receives MBE in New Year honours list

Architectural Heritage Fund

The AHF is delighted to note that our recently retired Deputy Chairman, Roy Dantzic, is to receive an MBE, as announced in the New Year honours list. 

By the time of his eventual retirement from the AHF Board in April last year, Roy had completed almost 15 years of dedicated service to the AHF, the last five years of which he served as Deputy Chairman. He was exceptionally busy throughout that period with both executive and non-executive roles, and yet he remained completely dedicated to the AHF, rarely missing Board and Committee meetings and always ensuring the charity’s financial affairs and strategic direction were properly scrutinised and adjusted as necessary to cope with external pressures. The AHF, and the UK’s architectural heritage more broadly, has benefited enormously from his passion, commitment and selfless service over the last 15 years. Roy’s MBE is well-deserved. Congratulations Roy from all your friends at the AHF!


The AHF also welcomes the New Year honours for Clare Pillman, Director at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and for Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of the Churches Conservation Trust, Janet Gough, formerly Director of Cathedral and Church Buildings at The Church of England, and Trevor Cooper, Chairman of the Ecclesiological Society. Crispin, Janet and Trevor have and continue to make a huge contribution to the conservation and public enjoyment of England’s ecclesiastical heritage, whereas Clare continues to champion heritage within government. Well done all, and congratulations to the many other people across the UK who have received an honour in recognition of their services to heritage!

Call for evidence to English Churches Sustainability Review launched

Architectural Heritage Fund

The panel is seeking views from the public on how to successfully maintain church buildings across the country.

The English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review has launched a call for evidence to hear the public’s views on how church buildings should be looked after and the role can they play in local communities.

The review panel, chaired by Bernard Taylor, aims to find innovative and practical ways to maintain church and cathedral buildings at the heart of their communities for generations to come.

The public, those caring for local church buildings or involved with their local church, and those who simply have an interest in preserving our heritage, are encouraged to contribute their views to the call for evidence, which will close on 31 January 2017.

The responses will help to inform the Review Panel’s recommendations due to be published in Spring 2017.

Find out more and submit evidence here

Annual Report Celebrates Successful Year

Harriet Roberts

Successful historic building restoration projects across the UK are celebrated in the AHF’s annual report which is published today (1 December) coinciding with The Heritage Alliance’s annual Heritage Day.  

The report comes as heritage organisations gather in London’s spectacular Grade II listed Freemasons Hall to explore the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

As well as showcasing award winning buildings and completed regeneration projects, the AHF’s first impact measurement survey reveals the indirect outcomes for local communities and highlights a number of issues relating to the health of the sector. 

Click here to view the report