The Architectural Heritage Fund made 9 new grant offers in October amounting to £38,500 across the UK for community-led efforts to save historic buildings valued by local communities. The two projects highlighted here show the potential for charities to deliver existing services within buildings of important architectural heritage.
A £2,400 Project Viability Grant has been awarded to Chilli Studios, a charity delivering creative activities for people with mental health problems in Newcastle and Gateshead. It provides a user-led service with the aim of promoting social inclusion and interaction, developing skills and abilities to build resilience and well-being. The grant will enable the charity to assess the viability of creating an ‘art hub’ within an empty property that forms part of Ralph Erskine’s Grade II* listed Byker Wall housing estate, built between 1969-82. This is the newest building to have benefited from an AHF grant. Chilli Studios aims to link with Erskine’s famous participatory approach of ‘hobby rooms’ and provide a legacy that can engage disadvantaged communities in the area.
South Dudhope Mill was the first spinning mill to be built in Dundee, in 1818. The mill has been largely undeveloped and is therefore one of the few remaining sites where many aspects of the history of the city’s jute industry can still be identified. Today, the former spinning and storage buildings are occupied by Tayside Re-users, a SCIO and social enterprise set up to encourage people to find alternative uses for goods they might otherwise throw away, and to provide employment and volunteering opportunities as a route back to employment for those out of work. The Scottish Prison Service is a major client, with day release inmates from the local open prison working on site, as well as electrical goods and furniture being repaired at two closed prisons.
A £5,000 Project Viability Grant will enable Tayside Re-users to explore whether it will be viable to purchase the building, refurbish it and bring disused and unsafe areas on the upper floors into productive use. The project potentially provides a great opportunity to expand its work and offer skills training, particularly in furniture refurbishment, upholstery, electrical repairs and up-cycling, all of which requires both more floorspace and better quality spaces to work in.
AHF support for projects like these not be possible without the continued support of Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland.
For the full list of grant offers made in October 2017 see: