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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

A Royal unveiling for Riddle's Court

Architectural Heritage Fund

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Riddle’s Court is a unique survival: an A-listed 16th Century courtyard house set behind the Royal Mile close to Edinburgh Castle.  The property contains significant architectural features documenting its 400 year history including a rare late 16th Century painted beam ceiling, an early 17th Century plaster ceiling and a late 19th Century ceiling by TK Bonnar. 

Over the centuries the building has been a merchant's house, a venue for a banquet held by King James VI, aristocratic apartments, overcrowded tenements, a Mechanics Subscription Library, a University Hall developed by Patrick Geddes, emergency post-war housing, a Community Learning Centre, and an Edinburgh Fringe Festival venue. 

Since 2009, the AHF has been supporting Scottish Historic Buildings Trust in its efforts to rejuvenate the building, first with an Options Appraisal Grant in 2008, a further Project Development Grant in 2010, and a loan offer of up to £500,000 in 2013.

In early September the completion of the rejuvenation of the building as the Patrick Geddes Centre was marked by a tour for HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, who unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion on 8th September 2017.

 

Find out more about the regeneration project

Find out more about the Patrick Geddes Centre

Social Enterprise NI awards

Ruth Johnson

The AHF is delighted to sponsor the award for Local Council of the Year - Social Enterprise Strategy/Development, at this year's Social Enterprise NI Awards.  The sponsorship ties in with 'Growing Community Enterprise Through Heritage' - a two year development grants and advice programme in Northern Ireland, funded by the Department for Communities' Historic Environment Division and The Pilgrim Trust.

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Government funding scheme launched to repair NI heritage

Ruth Johnson

The Department for Communities' Historic Environment Division has launched a repair fund, targeting thatched properties, buildings at risk which appear on the register as of August 2017, and listed buildings with owners on certain qualifying benefits. The closing date is 10 October 2017. Click here for more information  

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Communities across Scotland to benefit from new Community Development Grant Funding

Architectural Heritage Fund

Springburn Winter Gardens, Glasgow

Springburn Winter Gardens, Glasgow

This year, The Architectural Heritage fund (AHF) launched a new grant fund supported by Historic Environment Scotland (HES). Due to additional three year funding of up to £200,000 from HES, the AHF is able to expand its grant-giving programme to include a new Scottish Community Development Grant that will help support historic building regeneration projects in communities across Scotland.  

Eligible applicants could receive up to £50,000 for regeneration projects in their community, bringing benefits to local areas through the reuse of historic buildings.  Approved projects will have the potential to make a significant positive social impact, offer long-term sustainable uses for historic buildings and will be clearly and strongly community led.


Thomas Knowles, Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland said:

The new Scottish Community Development Grant offers opportunities for communities to take the lead on restoring their historic buildings and find a sustainable re-use for them as a modern community-owned asset.
Projects supported by this new grant have the potential to make a really significant positive social impact, and we’re looking forward to hearing about successful applicants and seeing their projects take shape in the future.”

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a UK-wide registered charity that helps voluntary and community groups to repair and regenerate historic buildings.

David Hunter, an AHF Trustee for Scotland said:

We are looking for proposals that offer long-term sustainable uses for historic buildings and help build stronger and more cohesive communities. Delivering social enterprise, local business or community services from historic buildings can not only help unlock additional funding sources, but improve the sense of place and wellbeing for a local community.”

The first two grants under the new scheme, totalling £39,500, have just been awarded to Springburn Winter Gardens Trust that will help see a regeneration of the historic glasshouses in North Glasgow, and to the Leith Theatre Trust to help bring the Leith Theatre back to life as a live performance venue in Edinburgh. 

Leith Theatre

Leith Theatre

Jack Hunter, Chair of Leith Theatre Trust said:

“It is absolutely fantastic to be awarded this grant to further the work of Leith Theatre Trust. This will help give us the capacity to take the next steps in bringing the theatre back to life - bringing in a design team, helping to fundraise and making sure the local community have the opportunity to get the most out of this neglected public asset.”

Jamie Mallan, Chair of Springburn Winter Gardens Trust said:

“Early funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund enabled us to demonstrate the viability of restoring the Winter Gardens, which then helped us go on to win other financial support to make crucial repairs to prevent further deterioration of the building.
We’re delighted that this new grant offer will enable us to further develop our plans to restore the Winter Gardens. It help us to deliver our vision of a restored and repurposed Winter Gardens as a community-owned site that delivers crucial services and meet the needs of the people of Springburn and north Glasgow."

To find out more about the Scottish Community Development Grant and to see if your project might be eligible for our support, contact the AHF Support Officer for Scotland, Gordon Barr, on gordon.barr@ahfund.org.uk or 0300 121 0341.

More information can be found on the AHF website at www.ahfund.org.uk/grants

Applications to the new fund are on a quarterly basis, with the next deadline on 16th August 2017. 

Notes to Editors

About the AHF

·       The AHF are the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK. In the last 15 years, 293 historic buildings across the UK have been regenerated thanks to over £46 million of AHF investment.

www.ahfund.org.uk

About Historic Environment Scotland

·       Historic Environment Scotland are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.

·       Historic Scotland is a sub brand of HES.

·       Historic Environment Scotland is a registered Scottish Charity. Scottish Charity No. SC045925

·       You can keep up to date with news from Historic Environment Scotland and register for media release email alerts here. If you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us.

The Architectural Heritage Fund appoints a new Chief Executive

Architectural Heritage Fund

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is delighted to announce the appointment of Matthew McKeague as its new Chief Executive. Matthew will join the AHF from the Churches Conservation Trust where, as Director of Regeneration, he leads a highly successful team developing innovative new uses for historic churches. He has led on the delivery of the Trust’s most complex and challenging projects, many of which have received national and international recognition. The most recent example is in Ipswich, where the mediaeval St Mary at the Quay has been transformed into ‘Quay Place’, a wellbeing and heritage centre – the result of a successful partnership with Suffolk Mind. Matthew has also developed the Trust’s work on social impact measurement, including its first Theory of Change, and a new consultancy service.

Prior to joining the Churches Conservation Trust in 2008, Matthew worked on a range of regeneration, social enterprise and community projects across the UK. His experience encompasses roles within the regeneration departments of local authorities in London as well as private sector consultancy work. Matthew also has considerable experience in the third sector as a Trustee and Chair of an environmental social enterprise.

AHF’s Chairman, Liz Peace, said “I am delighted to welcome Matthew McKeague as our new Chief Executive. Matthew’s strategic insight, breadth of experience in regeneration and passion for historic buildings – and especially the role they can play in revitalising communities and the opportunities they create for social enterprise – makes him ideally suited to lead the AHF as it continues to grow and develop.”

Matthew said: “I have long admired the role the AHF has played in helping communities breathe life back into cherished historic buildings. Its reach and impact over many years is remarkable. At the same time, it is forward-looking and ambitious to expand its role to support communities rescue and find new uses for historic buildings they value; a role I passionately believe in. AHF has a clear strategy and I am looking forward to working with the hugely experienced and dedicated team here to deliver AHF’s important work.”

Matthew will take up his post in October 2017.

AHF Supports Community Heritage Projects Across The UK

Ruth Johnson

The Architectural Heritage Fund made 19 new grant offers amounting to £248,650 across the UK in June for community-led efforts to save historic buildings valued by local communities. Here are two examples of projects supported:

Horatio Vaults, Ouseburn Valley

A project viability grant will enable the Ouseburn Trust to explore options for bringing the historic Horatio Vaults, in the Ouseburn Conservation Area, back into a sustainable use.  The vaults historically formed part of the Quayside industry and in recent years have lain empty.  Newcastle City Council are reviewing their assets base and approached the Trust to see if they could find a use to derive a benefit to the wider community and economy of the valley.  Having worked in the valley for over twenty years, the Ouseburn Trust are perfectly placed to explore develop a scheme that will develop these buildings for a future use.

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The Old Brewery, Berwick upon Tweed

The Old Brewery, Berwick upon Tweed has recently been purchased by the Berwick upon Tweed Community Development Trust with a view to providing a suitable building for further education provision.  A project development grant will enable the Trust to complete the work required to get the professional works required to submit a planning application to the conclusion of RIBA Stage 3. This 18th and early 19th century complex of building was in use until 1975, first as a brewery and mineral water factory, then to make malt then had a myriad of uses until the mid-1990’s when it stood empty.  The Trust is perfectly placed to rescue this building and return it to a use that will benefit the community for generations to come.

AHF Impact Survey 2017 - Prize Draw Winner Announced

Architectural Heritage Fund

The AHF would like to thank the many current and former clients who took time to complete our Impact Survey this summer. Your time and effort is very much appreciated. We’ve started analyzing the results and there are already some encouraging responses. As a thank you for participating, every active charity who responded to the survey was entered into a prize draw to win a £1,000 donation towards their charitable objectives. The winner was Re:Source Blackburn, Blackburn Cotton Exchange.

Alistair Murdoch, Chair of Trustees for Re:Source Blackburn said: "We're delighted to have won this money from the Architectural Heritage Fund, who have been extremely supportive. This money will help us do further project promotion and help us develop our business plan before a phase 1 HLF application."

The Blackburn Cotton Exchange is Grade 2 listed and is located on King William Street, Blackburn. It was built in 1862-5 by Brakespear of Manchester in the High Gothic style and represents the prosperity of the Blackburn cotton trade. With the collapse of the cotton trade at the beginning of the 20th century, the Cotton Exchange lost its purpose. It was converted into a cinema, but finally closed its doors in 2005, since when it became derelict. It was bought in 2015 by Re:Source Blackburn which has temporarily refurbished the lower ground floor.

With support from the AHF by way of a Project Viability Grant, Re:Source Blackburn has developed its ideas for the building, including a restaurant, exhibition space, community use and an auditorium. It has drawn inspiration from The Grand, Clitheroe and the Liverpool Lighthouse, both former cinemas which have been transformed into community venues. A heritage report and condition survey of the building has now been completed as has an option appraisal of the proposals which were subject to a public consultation in September 2016.

A full impact report based on the data collected from the survey will be published as part of our AHF Annual Review later in the year.

Find out more about Re:Source Blackburn here.

New grants for buildings at risk in Northern Ireland

Ruth Johnson

AHF is delighted to announce the first project viability grants to be offered from our new Northern Ireland grants fund, thanks to the support of the Pilgrim Trust and the Department for Communities NI. This funding will help to secure the survival of these threatened historic buildings

Scots Church, Derry

The plight of Great James’ Street Presbyterian Church, Derry was highlighted over 20 years ago, when it featured in the register of Buildings at Risk.  Built in 1837, it is one of the best examples of Georgian style architecture in the city.  The church catered for skilled industrial immigrants from the Glasgow shipyards, and subsequently became known as the ‘Scots Church’.  The congregation moved on in 1983, and the building has since been used as a library, glassworks and, more recently, as a temporary music venue. 

An acquisition grant, administered by the Architectural Heritage Fund, on behalf of the then Northern Ireland Environment Agency, allowed the church to be purchased by An Gaelaras, who are at the forefront of preserving and promoting the Irish language in the area. 

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They envisage creating “one of the most iconic arts and performance spaces in the city”, and have been awarded a Project Viability Grant to help them to update the condition survey (one of the requirements of the Heritage Lottery Fund, who have awarded them a Stage One Pass), and to further test the economic viability of the proposed uses.

 

Bushmills Courthouse

 

Bushmills courthouse was built by the MacNaghten family of Dunderave Estate in 1834 to serve as a Petty Session Court and as a symbol of authority in the area. The building contained a court room and cells, with living accommodation above for the police and was converted into a residence in the early 20th century.

 

The prominent building, at the heart of Bushmills Conservation Area, has been empty since the late 1960s and was acquired by the Causeway Enterprise Agency in 2016.  The Agency envisages using the building for a ‘Creative Enterprise Hub’ to include workspaces; a gallery; retail and community space; and self-catering accommodation, which is in sync with the Causeway Coast and Glens Council strategy for economic and social development in the region.

 

The Project Viability Grant awarded to this established social enterprise agency will allow them to test assumptions around the proposed uses of the courthouse, and associated land, and overall sustainability of the project.  The grant will also support the creation of a Conservation Management Plan, which will help inform the group’s approach to the building’s restoration, re-use and management, and allow them to amend extant planning permissions accordingly.

AHF supports major investment at Knockando Woolmill

Architectural Heritage Fund

Knockando Woolmill in rural Moray, Europe’s oldest district woolmill, is set to increase its productivity, competitiveness and turnover, creating a new post and retaining existing staff.

The mill has been manufacturing continuously for more than 200 years. For the past five years it has been operated as a social enterprise by Knockando Woolmill Company Limited (KWC). 

A range of woven and spun goods are produced at Knockando for both retail and wholesale.  As well as being recognised as a unique part of Scotland’s manufacturing heritage, the business has thrived as a retail and tourism destination with visitor numbers reaching 28,000 in 2016. Seven full time staff are employed at the mill along with six to eight seasonal posts.

The company has secured up to £100,000 in grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and, through the generous support and funding of Historic Environment Scotland, a loan facility of up to £250,000 from the Architectural Heritage Fund.

The money will be used to invest in new equipment and production software, as well as supporting the growth and operational requirements of the business. An additional weaver post will also be created to enable shift work and double production capacity as the company expands its customer base.

Nicola Irwin, Chairman of the Knockando Woolmill Trustees said “All involved at Knockando Woolmill are very pleased that the Architectural Heritage Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise have recognised the achievements of Knockando Woolmill over the past five years and that both have continued their long association with the Woolmill by investing in its future thereby helping it to maintain and expand employment and manufacturing in the Spey Valley.”

Fiona Robb, Head of Strengthening Communities with HIE in Moray, added: “We recognise the potential for Knockando Woolmill’s products to reach global markets. This mill is also a valuable employer in one of our more rural areas and has an important role to play in the cultural attraction of Moray as a region to visit. 

“We’re delighted to be able to support the Knockando team’s efforts to grow their business, improve production and their customer experience and look forward to continuing to work with them as they implement the plans.”

ENDS.

NOTES:

Knockando Woolmill was officially opened by HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay on the 9th of October 2012. It is a Category A listed group of buildings in the Spey Valley in Moray. The Woolmill itself contains original textile machinery acquired over the centuries. 

Knockando Woolmill Trust was formed with the aims of restoring the buildings and machinery, training a new generation of craftsmen so that manufacturing could continue well into the future and opening the site to the public for education and enjoyment. 

The Knockando Woolmill Company Ltd. is a company limited by shares and wholly owned by Knockando Woolmill Trust. It is based at the Woolmill and responsible for running the Woolmill site, including manufacturing, the visitor centre, and the education and outreach programme. 

Knockando Woolmill was one of the winners of the 2016 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s highest honour in the heritage field. It has been a remarkable success and in its 2016 season it attracted around 28,000 visitors.

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas. It is the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK, providing not-for-profit organisations with a combination of advice, development grants or loans.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is an economic and community development agency implementing Scotland's Economic Strategy across a region which covers more than half the country. With around 300 staff, HIE supports hundreds of client businesses and social enterprises; strengthens communities, particularly in fragile areas; develops growth sectors, and invests in infrastructure to create a more competitive and low carbon region.