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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.

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AHF supports UK community heritage projects

Architectural Heritage Fund

Today, the Architectural Heritage Fund is pleased to announce further support for heritage-led community projects right across the UK, with the latest round of grants and loans totalling more than £521,000 this quarter. This will help communities move forward with their plans to revitalise neglected but much-loved historic buildings as thriving community assets.

The AHF’s Chief Executive, Ian Morrison, says ‘The AHF is unique in that it is able to offer support to local communities at every point in the life of their project – grants for early development work and project planning, through to loans for acquisition and as working capital for project delivery. Our experienced staff can also offer help and advice, giving people the skills and confidence they need to realise their ambitions. 

Thanks to the generous financial support of our benefactors, we are able to help turn dreams into reality. We believe historic buildings and places play an essential role in our everyday lives, our cultural identity and our economy. Our historic environment can inspire creativity and enterprise, it brings communities together, and it makes people happier about where they live. This is what makes our work so important.

AHF supports community heritage projects across Scotland

In Scotland, thanks to significant support from Historic Scotland, we have been able to assist eight community led projects ranging from Shetland to Dumfriesshire, investing over £240,000. 

Merkinch Welfare Hall is to be the new home of Inverness City Amateur Boxing Club 

Merkinch Welfare Hall is to be the new home of Inverness City Amateur Boxing Club 

Merkinch Enterprise Ltd has secured a loan offer of £160,000 to provide working capital for their project to revitalise the former Merkinch Welfare Hall in Inverness. The only listed temperance hall in the Highlands, this rare building will be restored to house an amateur boxing club, an easily accessible centre for people requiring employment support, and much-needed office space. The project was the first in Scotland to secure a Heritage Enterprise grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and this loan offer will allow the works to get under way later this year.
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NVA have secured additional £15,000 funding towards business planning as they further develop their scheme to bring the internationally important St Peter’s Seminary back to life at the heart of a unique designed landscape. This project will create a unique centre for culture, heritage and education.
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Covesea Lighthouse Community Company Ltd was formed to give ownership of the Covesea Lighthouse to local people after it was shut down in 2012. Having achieved their initial aim, the CLCCL has now acquired adjoining land, including the original steading building for the lighthouse. This will be restored to show how the lighthouse keepers once lived, alongside a new build visitor and education centre. This grant of £15,000 towards professional fees will enable them to carry out works including conservation, business and interpretation plans.
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Fife Employment Action Trust have been offered the opportunity to take on the disused Silverburn Flax Mill near Leven, to turn it into a hub for their training and community activities. This regeneration project in a very deprived part of Fife is a strategic priority for the local council and has the potential to make a huge social impact for the local community. The £15,000 grant will allow them to employ a dedicated Project Organiser to take the project forward to the funding stage; volunteers are already at work helping restore the local woodland paths. Find our more.

Shambellie House near New Abbey in Dumfries was Scotland’s National Museum of Costume until closure in 2013. A steering group of local people led to the development of a Shambellie House Trust that was formed in early 2015. This grant of £10,000 will allow the new trust to employ a project organiser to develop a sound business plan that will save Shambellie House for the community.
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Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Trust took ownership of this prominent former church in 2012, and have since been running it as a community venue and performance space. This £14,950 grant will allow the trust to employ a project organiser to take forward plans to improve the facilities for visitors to allow them to run a greater range of events, and provide access and exhibition space in the 15th century Norman tower.
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The National Trust for Scotland has been developing plans to secure a new future for Halligarth House on Unst, working together with the Shetland Amenity Trust and the Unst Partnership. They plan to restore the building and surrounding designed landscape to create a visitor centre to celebrate the natural heritage of Unst. This grant offer for £9,000 towards professional fees will enable conservation and interpretation plans to be prepared once further project funding has been secured.
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The Scottish Redundant Churches Trust have been working with the Braemar community to secure a new future for the historic St Margaret’s Church, as a creative hub and performance venue, and home to a new fiddle school. A pilot programme of arts and music events held in the building over the last year has been a great success. This £3,345 grant for project organiser fees will help the Trust develop their plans and apply for further funding from HLF and Historic Scotland.
Find out more.

AHF helps communities find solutions for much-loved historic
buildings at risk in England

Thanks to significant financial support from Historic England, the Pilgrim Trust and the J Paul Getty. Jnr Charitable Trust, we have been able to offer Project Development Grants to four community projects in England, amounting to £54,800.

A new Trust set up to save the former Sheerness Royal Dockyard Church on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent will receive £12,800 to take forward proposals to create office space for small to medium-sized business combined with a visitor attraction displaying the large-scale model constructed by John Rennie in the 1830s of the entire Sheerness Dockyard. This remarkable artefact has been in store with Historic England for many years, awaiting a permanent and publicly accessible home.
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Brunel’s very important 1848 Atmospheric Railway Pumping House is at the heart of a community-led development of a brownfield site adjacent to the railway station in Totnes, Devon. Never commissioned for Brunel’s railway, the building was most recently used for storage as part of a milk processing factory. It is now part of the Atmos Project, a proposed low carbon and low emission sustainable business park based on ‘Transition Town’ principles. Totnes Community Development Society is acquiring the site and aims to bring the Pumping House back into use as a as a mixed-use venue, including a ‘food hub’ promoting local produce. A £15,000 Project Development Grant will help towards the cost of producing detailed architectural designs.
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Public support for the Atmos Totnes project on the day of the official announcement of the site purchase.

Public support for the Atmos Totnes project on the day of the official announcement of the site purchase.

A £12,000 Project Development Grant will help progress plans for a former Methodist Chapel in Tolpuddle, Dorset where the celebrated Tolpuddle Martyrs worshipped. The Grade II* chapel, built in 1818 and on the Heritage at Risk Register for many years, has been bought by a local Trust established with the help of the AHF. The grant will pay for a Project Organiser and professional fees for drawing up detailed designs.
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Also in Dorset, the Swanage Pier Trust will benefit from a £15,000 grant for a Project Organiser to help develop detailed proposals for the Regency-style Marine Villas, which will be the centrepiece of a new community development to create interpretation space, a café, shop and offices at the pier entrance.
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AHF helps a new community trust take on its first project in Wales

Thanks to long-standing financial support from Cadw in Wales, a £216,000 working capital loan combined with a £8,240 grant will enable a new building preservation trust, the Welsh Georgian Trust, to undertake its first project. The Trust will acquire the historic Grade II listed Plas Kynaston in Wrexham, empty for twelve years, and convert it into six apartments.
Find out more.

Plas Kynaston is a Grade II listed house located within the Cefn Mawr conservation area, in the County Borough of Wrexham.

Plas Kynaston is a Grade II listed house located within the Cefn Mawr conservation area, in the County Borough of Wrexham.

About the AHF

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 do exactly that since 1976, with advice, grants and loans.

The AHF is able to make grants and loans using its own funds, supported by generous financial support from English Heritage, Historic Scotland, CADW, the Pilgrim Trust and the J Paul Getty. Jnr Charitable Trust.

The next closing date for grant applications is May 19th; if you are interested in applying for AHF support please contact us and we will be delighted to discuss your project.

Our most recent Annual Review, which is full of case studies of completed projects, and lists all of the projects we are currently supporting across the UK, can be downloaded here.

Web: www.ahfund.org.uk
Twitter: @archhfund
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