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3 Spital Yard
Spitalfields, , E1 6AQ
United Kingdom

020 7925 0199

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

Transforming heritage: AHF makes significant new investments in projects across the UK

Oliver Brodrick-Ward

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At the AHF’s June Credit Panel a total of 4 new loan offers were made, totalling £595,000 of new social investment into the heritage, culture, arts and community development sectors. 

Citizens Theatre in Glasgow has been offered a working capital facility of £400,000 for a major restoration of Britain’s oldest fully functioning professional theatre. The theatre has been working on redevelopment proposals for a number of years and has secured major grant offers from a number of public funders including the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Glasgow City Council, Creative Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland. The Category B listed theatre is situated in an area of Glasgow experiencing significant change in terms of new housing and commercial development. Citizen’s Theatre is committed to enhancing the lives of people in Glasgow and to producing theatre and a range of participatory events for, and by, children and young people. It is hoped that the theatre’s redevelopment will enable this vulnerable building to become an essential creative and cultural hub for the Glasgow community. For further information on the project, click here.

Oxford House in Bethnal Green, London has been offered a working capital loan of £85,000 by the AHF as part of a wider HLF-funded project to redevelop the Grade II listed building to help increase community use.

Oxford House is a three-storey red brick building constructed in 1891-2 by Keble College, Oxford, to the designs of Arthur Blomfield. It was built as residential accommodation where students and graduates from Keble College, Oxford undertook a period of residential volunteering to learn first-hand about the realities of urban poverty. Volunteers provided practical support to alleviate or remove the impact of poverty to the local community by creating projects such as youth clubs, a ‘poor man’s lawyer’, labour exchanges and adult education classes.

Oxford House is still based in the original building, but it suffered from considerable water damage which led to it being put on the national ‘At Risk’ register. Roof repairs were undertaken in 2016 with the help of an Historic England grant, but leaks still persisted, causing damage to the panelled chapel. This prompted a more widespread review of the building’s usage, where the ground floor will be used more widely as a welcoming community space with café and heritage centre.

The heritage of Oxford House embodies the diverse heritage of communities in Bethnal Green. The ongoing project explores strands of this heritage, including the role of the Webbe Institute (its youth arm) and the development of youth clubs and their impact on childhood, sport (especially boxing) and performing arts. Oxford House currently provides a diverse range of services, either directly or through its tenant organisations, to the communities within East London, ranging from healthcare to legal advocacy - the project will help facilitate the ongoing delivery of this significant local impact.

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The other two offers are to Friends of Ingestre Orangery, which has been offered a working capital loan of £35,000 to help restore a Grade II listed Orangery in Staffordshire; and to Farnham Building Preservation Trust, which has been offered a working capital loan of £75,000 to help restore Yew Tree Cottage, Wrecclesham, Surrey (for more information on this project, click here).

Editors Notes:

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas. Its is the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK. It provides advice, development grants and loans.

For press enquiries please contact Ollie Brodrick-Ward at the AHF at 020 7925 0199 / oliver.brodrick-ward@ahfund.org.uk