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Above Adventure in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland.
Above Adventure in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland.

Introducing the AHF's 2023-28 Strategy

23 May 2023

We are very pleased to be revealing our new Strategy for the next five years. What everyone can probably agree on is that the last few years have been incredibly difficult to predict. Setting out exactly what our aims and priorities will be over the medium term therefore has to be done with some degree of flexibility – but our three aims will be a clear guide for our work in the 2023-28 period:

  1. Delivering targeted investment that leads to the sustainable reuse and management of historic buildings.
  2. Supporting charities and social enterprises to take ownership of, develop and sustain new uses for historic buildings.
  3. Championing the impact of heritage- and community-led regeneration.

In terms of our priorities for funding, it is important to reiterate that we will continue to be a developer of funds, both loans and grants, as well as a funding distributor. In the new Strategy, we set out our ambitions to continue investing in long-term work around heritage-led regeneration within town centres and other areas of place-based regeneration. We know these priorities continue to be important to communities across the UK and reflect that this type of work is inevitably challenging and long-term; continuing a sustained effort to bring about change is therefore vital. We also know that heritage regeneration projects bring many distinct benefits to their communities – including social and economic impacts – that will be attractive to broader funders beyond the traditional heritage sector. We will therefore continue to encourage projects to maximise those benefits and the way they communicate them.

Our Strategy also contains newer – and very urgent – priorities, including addressing climate change. Since 1976, we have been investing in different forms of retrofit - this is going to be even more important over the next 50 years to ensure we get the right solutions for historic buildings. We also want to continue our focus on the UK’s areas of deprivation and addressing any barriers there might be to accessing our funding, including by communities in areas with highly diverse populations. Buildings of architectural and heritage interest are spread across the country; it is therefore only right we help ensure everyone can access and use them where there is demand to do so.  

We will continue to use our experience and knowledge to assist charities and social enterprises to be more sustainable in their development and management of historic buildings. Some of the projects we began supporting in 1976 remain valued partners today, and that long-term assistance, particularly where sites are complex and challenging, is something we continue to see as an important part of our role.

In 2026, we will celebrate our 50th anniversary. We want to use this significant milestone as a springboard for showcasing the awe-inspiring work so many communities across the UK undertake to reuse historic buildings in new and imaginative ways. This is such an important time for place, people and planet, and we believe our work can play a significant role. We want to thank all those charities, social enterprises and partners we have worked with so far, and continue to look forward to working with existing and new organisations in the hugely important period to come.

Matthew Mckeague, Chief Executive

For more information, read our new Strategy here.

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