This is, sadly, my last Annual Review as Chair of the AHF. However, I feel enormously privileged to have been able to spend almost a decade helping the organisation and those that it funds to regenerate some of the UK’s most wonderful historic buildings.
I became involved with the AHF because I believed passionately in helping charities and local communities find new and sustainable uses for historic buildings. The organisation has done some great things to achieve this core objective and I am proud to have been able to play my part in supporting such a diverse array of projects.
Looking back over my time in office we have managed to launch an extraordinary array of new products and projects, in particular the Heritage Impact Fund, and a number of Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport funded programmes, including the £15m town centre and high street programme Transforming Places Through Heritage. We have also increased the funding streams for our activities in all four countries in the UK. All these initiatives have led to more historic buildings back in use - AHF’s core purpose - but also a wide variety of social and economic benefits through the variety of activities being delivered from within these buildings.
This past year we have been focusing efforts on diversifying both the staff and governance of the AHF and also ensuring that our funding and finance reaches into all parts of the UK. We see this as essential to the delivery of our charitable purposes: historic buildings are located in every part of the UK, but they are particularly at risk in economically deprived areas. It is therefore imperative we support people and organisations in these places to find a new future for their heritage assets.