Growing community enterprise through heritage

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) welcomes new investment from the UK Government 

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) welcomes the announcement in the Culture White Paper of over £3 million of new funding for its grant programmes and advice services. This investment will allow the AHF to support many more communities across the country as they seek to take ownership and find enterprising new uses for much loved historic buildings. 

For nearly 40 years the AHF has helped communities repair and reuse this country’s unique and irreplaceable architectural heritage. In the last 11 years alone, £3 million of AHF grants has levered in over £308 million of additional money to rescue 210 listed historic buildings that might otherwise have been lost. Projects such as the recently opened Cromford Creative and Gateway Centre have been successfully delivered, thanks in part to AHF’s early support. Here an AHF project development grant of £25,000 helped the Arkwright Society draw up designs and prepare capital funding bids to repair and convert the Grade I listed cotton mill, one of the earliest factory buildings in the world, into a creative business hub and visitor centre for the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. The £6.7 million scheme will provide new jobs and attract new visitors to Cromford.

Ian Morrison, AHF’s Chief Executive commented: “This is fantastic news for the AHF and for the communities we work closely with. The Government’s generous investment comes just at the right time as the demand for our advice and grants is at a record high. The vast majority of this funding will be directly passed on to communities in the form of early project grants to help them develop their plans for the rescue and reuse of historic buildings. Together we will be able to save far more of our architectural heritage for public benefit”. 

The additional funding will also allow the AHF to employ four more Support Officers with experience in project management, business planning, property, fundraising and marketing. AHF’s Chairman, Liz Peace CBE added: “Expanding the range of advice we can provide, especially in areas of commercial enterprise, is particularly important at a time when communities increasingly aspire to take ownership of the historic buildings they value. This is very welcome news indeed.

The AHF will announce details of its new grant programmes and advice services later this Spring.

The Cultural White Paper can be downloaded here.


Notes for editors:
1. The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity founded in 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings in the UK. It provides support, alongside other larger funders, to heritage-led community groups across the UK with grants, loans and assistance to help them move forward with their plans to revitalise neglected but much-loved historic buildings as thriving community assets.
2. The AHF receives funding from Cadw in Wales, Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland and the Department of the Environment Northern Ireland. To date the AHF has offered grants totalling over £8 million and loans of over £123 million. 

For more information contact:
Ian Morrison at The Architectural Heritage Fund,; 020 7925 0199