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Our Strategy 2023-28

Research continues to demonstrate that communities prefer to see historic buildings reused wherever possible, often before new development is considered, and that heritage buildings are a central foundation of the civic fabric of places.1 We also know that social infrastructure - the physical spaces and facilities which bring people together to build meaningful relationships - much of which is housed in historic buildings and managed by charities and social enterprises - is increasingly under threat.2

Central to place-based regeneration, particularly of deprived areas, is also the improvement of the quality of the environment and securing the social infrastructure and services that local communities need. This in turn attracts new investment and people. Our support and funding typically helps to link these two important themes and is central, in our view, to what the economist Martin Sandbu has called the ‘strategies of attraction3 that can contribute to helping turnaround places still experiencing significant levels of deprivation.

50 years supporting heritage and community led regeneration
Our Approach


Our work usually focuses around ‘everyday heritage’ buildings, like libraries, shops or town halls - assets that are in every community. Some are listed, some are not – but all have meaning for the communities in which they are located and which shape the local identity of a place. This is why communities often look to these buildings to provide new uses and services when they fall out of use and which can help to drive up the design quality of surrounding development.

Thanks to working more closely and with a more diverse set of partners during 2020–23, we have delivered a 60%+ increase in funding. But despite this significant increase, the threats to historic buildings, particularly in deprived areas, remain high – from post pandemic aftershocks, struggling local economies, changes in consumer behaviour and climate change.

Grange over Sands Lido (Credit. Matthew Mckeague)

We remain very supportive of all community attempts to reuse historic buildings, but our current funding levels can only ever support a fraction of those in need. That is why helping to secure new funds remains such an important priority, as is continuing to introduce new partners to the work we do. We believe there remains significant untapped potential for charities and social enterprises to deliver on a range of cross cutting themes – from regeneration and economic development, to well-being and inclusive communities – that also address wider public concerns about the decline in the quality of their local area.

This strategy covers the period 2023-28, and includes our 50th anniversary in 2026. We believe this will be a crucially important time for the planet, people and places – and that historic building retrofit and reuse, alongside the critical work of charities and social enterprises, has a vital role to play in meeting the challenges we face.

Jubilee Pool, Penzance (Credit. Jim Stephenson Architectural Photography)

3   Martin Sandbu ‘The Economics of Belonging’ (2020)