As it has been for nearly everyone, the past year has been an enormous challenge to the AHF and the projects we support. There have been numerous false dawns, with the pandemic supposedly behind us, only for it to rebound again after a short period of respite. This has been hugely challenging for us all, both in terms of planning for the recovery and also in terms of the overall morale of everyone we are working with.
Despite this, everyone has responded brilliantly to this most trying of times and I must take the opportunity to thank the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and statutory agencies across the UK – including Department for Communities Northern Ireland, Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland and Cadw – for their vital extra investments into heritage projects to help them through the pandemic. We are also grateful for the ongoing support from foundation and trust supporters, including the Garfield Weston Foundation, Pilgrim Trust and William Grant Foundation.
As well as helping to distribute some of these emergency funds, the AHF team has been incredibly busy in continuing to award new grants and loans to projects throughout the UK. In fact, this year has seen us award the most funding ever. Despite the pandemic, communities across the country continue to bring forward ideas for regenerating much-loved historic buildings.