John Clare Trust: The Exeter Arms, Church Lane, Helpston, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Tucked away between Stamford and Peterborough lies the village of Helpston, the home of John Clare, widely regarded as one of the greatest English poets. The John Clare Trust purchased John Clare Cottage in 2005, preserving it for future generations. The Cottage has been restored, using traditional building methods, to create a centre where people can learn about John Clare, his works, how rural people lived in the early 19th century and also gain an understanding of the environment. Such is the success of the project, the Trust is expanding and, to this end, has purchased nearby vacant building – a former pub which is Grade II listed. The AHF is assisting the Trust by providing a loan facility of £210,000 which will allow them to renovate and re-develop the building and thus provide for the expansion. Early project plans include the installation of a large tearoom, and improved educational materials. From here they plan to provide an audio walk along to the Cottage and around the maintained gardens.