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Architectural Heritage Fund Annual Review 2021-22
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Our key figures and financials at a glance

The AHF has experienced two exceptional years from an income perspective: the initial investments into the HIF in 2019/20 and the unprecedented emergency funding we received and distributed in 2020/21, in response to the pandemic. A reduction in restricted income was therefore expected this year; nevertheless, we continued to benefit from significant government funding, which included a further £4.8 million for the penultimate year of the Transforming Places through Heritage (TPtH) programme from DCMS, via Historic England. We also secured substantial funding once again for our other core programmes in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, enabling us to extend both the Village Catalyst programme in Northern Ireland and Capital Grants in Wales. The HIF received additional investment for Northern Ireland loans from the Department for Communities.

Loan interest and arrangement fees, our most significant unrestricted income stream, increased slightly this year but we generated less income from our investments, partly due to the disposal of our investment property in September 2021. The value of our endowment fund investments rose over the year; however, the unrestricted fund sustained investment losses. We hope to recoup these losses in the future.

Whilst grant-making expenditure of £6 million was £1.6 million less than the previous year it was significantly ahead of 2019/20 (£4.5 million) reflecting both TPtH activity and the continued expansion of our other grant and support programmes over the last two years. 

Demand for HIF loans has remained strong throughout 2021/22 and, in addition to £2.5 million disbursed during the year (2021: £2.3 million), there were further HIF loan commitments of £2.8 million as at the year end.  The HIF fund is close to being fully committed and so securing new investment is an ongoing priority. In the year ahead, we will also see further repayments of initial HIF loans enabling capital to be recycled as new loans.

We continue to manage our overheads carefully and focus on generating sufficient unrestricted income to support our cost base, which includes several staff who are not funded by external grants. As the economic challenges of 2022 and beyond unfold, and our lending adapts to support the organisations we work with, it will be important to also protect the financial sustainability of the AHF. This will involve even closer monitoring of the loan portfolio and more targeted support for our clients, including through Re-Plan, our business support service.