Village Catalyst Projects receive AHF support

The Architectural Heritage Fund is delighted to be involved in developing a 3 year pilot programme in Northern Ireland called 'Village Catalyst' - the result of a highly innovative partnership between the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the Department for Communities (DfC).

The four projects selected are all historic buildings at risk, and all seek to deliver on DAERA's Targeting Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Framework.  

Caledon Regeneration Partnership is seeking to turn the Woolstore into a childcare facility; Gracehill Old School Trust is working with NOW Group, to create tourist accommodation from the Post Office, to be run by young adults with learning difficulties and autism; and Ederney Community Development Trust is converting the Pat Murphy House into a well-being and co-working hub at the heart of the village. Clonduff Development Enterprise is fine tuning its proposed uses for St. John's Parish Church Hilltown, which will address core community needs, following a detailed consultation.

Three of the projects availed of Project Viability Grants from AHF, and continue to benefit from the support and advice of its Support Officer in Northern Ireland, as well as its Business Development Officer and NI Trustee.

It is hoped that the pilot will clearly demonstrate how underused but distinctive heritage, centrally located in the main streets of our villages, can be truly transformative for people and places, delivering on their most fundamental needs.

Notes to Editors

1) The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) helps communities across the UK find enterprising new uses for the old buildings they love. For further information regarding the AHF visit our website http://ahfund.org.uk

For press enquiries please contact Oliver Brodrick-Ward, on 020 7925 0199 / oliver.brodrick-ward@ahfund.org.uk or Matthew Mckeague on 07429 799335.

2) The Department for Communities Historic Environment Division works in collaboration with a very wide range of individuals and organisations in the public, private and third sectors to ensure that, together, we record, protect, conserve and promote our heritage in ways which support and sustain our economy and our communities. We provide expertise and skills, seeking to improve the understanding, caring for and appreciation of our heritage, and to ensure a suitable balance between respecting a rich past and building a successful future. https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/topics/historic-environment