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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

AHF supports family charity Shabang in Slaithwaite

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

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Shabang Inclusive Learning based in Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, has secured a Project Viability Grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund to help it explore developing a unique offer for creative learning for children with additional needs in a former chapel in Slaithwaite.

Providence Chapel fell into disuse as the congregation dwindled, and, together with an associated Sunday School, has been unused and empty in the heart of the village. Shabang will refurbish the chapel for community use, primarily for use to support families with children with additional needs, but also for wider community activity. Shabang has a strong local and national reputation providing arts, music and creative activity for children with additional needs (such as Autism, Downs Syndrome or ADHD) and their families, across a range of ages. Refurbishing the Chapel as a designated space for their activities will enable the creation of a friendly, welcoming and safe space, including appropriate toilet and changing facilities and a multi-sensory room for children with multiple needs

Shabang will use the funding to undertake a viability study, including working with an architect to develop designs for the future uses of the building, and a consultant supporting them in terms of the viability of the uses they are planning, , and undertaking fundraising  for the refurbishment.

Kim Russ of Shabang said "We are thrilled to have the vote of confidence and funding from the AHF as we embark on this exciting journey! The grant will be supporting us as we take our first steps into transforming our beautiful 19th century chapel into its next phase.  Providence, historically the centre of community life, will once again become an important and valued place where 21st century children and their families can feel safe, supported and at home. "
 Matthew McKeague, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund said “It’s great to see voluntary organisations like Shabang take on heritage buildings and use them in innovative and contemporary ways – something we believe in strongly at AHF. The potential this project has to involve people from across the community, as well as focussing on children with additional needs and their families, is incredibly positive.”

 Editors’ Notes

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976, to promote the conservation and sustainable reuse of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in areas of deprivation.  It is the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK.

For further information contact: Karen Houghton-Slater, Support Officer: 0300 121 0731