I am delighted to be introducing my first Annual Review as Chair of the AHF. It has been a hugely interesting first year in the role and one in which I have been able to properly appreciate the extent of the AHF’s work across the UK.
It has been incredibly useful meeting key partners and stakeholders and also making visits to some of the projects we have supported. A trip to Scotland over the summer included a visit to a number of hugely impressive projects, including Above Adventure in Kilmarnock. This project, supported by the AHF with all three core elements of its support – grants, loans and advice – has seen the rescue of Grange Free Church from dereliction and turn it into a popular, accessible climbing hub. This is very much an AHF project through and through: working within a deprived community to help bring forward an ambitious social enterprise led project for a redundant historic building. The creation of this new asset is also helping efforts to bring more footfall into the town centre and which demonstrates the wider impact projects like this can have.
It’s also been a pleasure to meet so many of our stakeholders and partners. Our partners are critical supporters and funders of our work and we continue to benefit from hugely important relationships across the heritage and social investment sectors. I would like to thank all our funders for their new and ongoing investments over the course of the year, including the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the statutory agencies across the UK, the Department for Communities Northern Ireland, Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland and Cadw. We’re also immensely grateful for the ongoing support from foundation and trust supporters, including the Garfield Weston Foundation, Pilgrim Trust and William Grant Foundation.