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Our commitments to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

Historic buildings form part of every community in the UK, with each generation using and changing them to serve new and changing needs. As well as their constancy, their evolution - with different generations and communities leaving their mark – is one of their defining contributions to our cities, towns and villages.

However, we know there are problems of a lack of diversity within the heritage and social investment sectors. This is noticeable, for example, in the lack of ethnic minority communities on Boards and within staff teams, or in the lack of young or working class people leading projects. We need to help change this.

To enable historic buildings to evolve and be places that still matter to us all, the opportunities to develop and own heritage assets have to be accessible to us all.  It is therefore a vital part of delivering our charitable aims that we positively encourage our funding and support to reach into all communities, actively working to remove any barriers. As an organisation we should also have reach into a whole range of communities seeking to transform their heritage and by engaging in community led approaches and the people behind them, we have an opportunity to develop new leaders.     

We will therefore continue to invest in projects in communities across the country, but particularly in areas of economic disadvantage and where other structural barriers exist, knowing that heritage-led regeneration can act as a catalyst for new investment and services, and in promoting community well-being. We recognise that to overcome any barriers, it might sometimes require additional work on our part.

Within our own organisation we too will strive to represent the diversity of identities, cultures and backgrounds of the UK, through our staff and trustees. We know this makes us a more representative and effective organisation, one that can help cultivate and incubate talent that supports our work.

To support a culture of inclusion, equality and diversity, we commit to: 

  1. We are committed to anti-discrimination and to proactively developing diversity in our team, at a staff and governance level.
  2. Regularly reflecting and learning more about equality, diversity and inclusion issues, and how we can incorporate that learning into our practices.
  3. Ensuring our funding and advice is accessible to everyone and that it reaches a diverse group of recipients. This will include increasing our use of data and insights from the organisations we support.    
  4. Where we identify barriers to access, helping people and organisations in breaking down or supporting organisations to overcome them through capacity building.  
  5. Working with our partners and projects to regularly review and improve so that we may reach our equality, diversity and inclusion aims. This will include advocacy work and by supporting initiatives that help create a new generation of diverse talent within the heritage and social investment sectors. 

An action plan captures our ongoing work on equality, diversity and inclusion. This contains the steps we intend to take on an annual basis to achieve our goals and is agreed by the AHF’s trustees. We report on our progress through our Annual Review, our Trustees’ Annual Report and our Impact Report.  


Diversity Forum Manifesto 2.0

In April 2022, AHF pledged its commitment to working towards more inclusive social investment as an organisation, and as part of the wider social enterprise sector by signing up to the Diversity Forum’s Manifesto 2.0.

Find out more about the Diversity Forum Manifesto here.