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Image: The former Redruth Library. Photo courtesy of Redruth Former Library CIC.
Image: The former Redruth Library. Photo courtesy of Redruth Former Library CIC.

Final Round of Grants Awarded through the Transforming Places through Heritage Programme

21 March 2023

The Architectural Heritage Fund’s (AHF) Transforming Places through Heritage programme has awarded its final grants. Made possible with support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the £15 million programme has supported community-focused projects that will contribute to the transformation of high streets and town centres in England, helping them become thriving places, strengthening pride in place, and encouraging local economies to prosper.

Through Transforming Places, the AHF has also developed the innovative Heritage Development Trust model; invested in Co-operatives UK’s Community Shares Booster scheme; and worked with partners the Heritage Trust Network, Locality and Stir to Action to deliver Open High Streets, a three-year series of capacity-building workshops to support historic high streets projects.

Following the first Grants Panel meeting of 2023, the AHF is delighted to announce that it has now awarded the final round of grants through Transforming Places. In total, four grants totalling £105,480 were awarded to projects in Cornwall, Cumbria and Norfolk. You can find out more about the successful projects below.

These latest grants mean that through partnership with DCMS, nearly £13.3 million in grants have now been awarded to around 250 projects in town centres and on high streets across England since 2019 through Transforming Places through Heritage.


Image: Former Redruth College, which later became part of Redruth Library. Photo courtesy of Redruth Former Library CIC.

Redruth Library, Redruth, Cornwall (Redruth Former Library CIC)

John Passmore Edwards commissioned this Grade II-listed building as a ‘Free Library’ in 1894 following a bequest from Octavius Alan Ferris and a donation from Edwards himself. In 1966, a refurbishment linked the library to the adjacent former Redruth College. After Cornwall Council decided to relocate the library facility, Redruth Former Library CIC was formed to save, restore and operate the former Redruth library and college buildings as a new creative hub for community, culture and education called ‘The Ladder.’ It will house training for young people, a community-run café, performance space, rehearsal space, project space and residency space. The AHF Project Development Grant will fund professional fees to help progress the architectural and wider development work of the project.


Image: Becket's Chapel. Photo courtesy of Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust. 

Becket’s Chapel, Wymondham, Norfolk (Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust)

Dedicated to St Thomas Becket, this Grade I-listed former chapel was founded as a chantry in 1174. Over time, it has also served as Wymondham Old Grammar School, a lock-up, a home for the town’s fire engine, and the County Library Service. Since the Library’s closure in 2008, the Chapel has served as a temporary home to the Wymondham Arts Forum, showcasing their exhibitions. However, the building’s poor condition has made it increasingly unviable as a public venue, and it is currently unusable for six months of the year. Having acquired the Chapel and started extensive repair works, Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust is now moving on to Phase Two of this project, which will enable sustainable year-round community use of the building. The Trust also has ambitions to make this an exemplar environmental sustainability project. Subsequently, this next phase will incorporate secondary glazing, an air- or ground-source heat pump, and solar panels in the south-facing roof of the new extension. The AHF Project Development Grant will cover full design team costs for the development of this phase.


Image: The Coach House at Stricklandgate House. Photo courtesy of Stricklandgate House Trust.

The Coach House, Stricklandgate House, Kendal, Cumbria (Stricklandgate House Trust)

Stricklandgate House is a Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse built in 1776. The building is currently home to 15 charities, including Waste into Wellbeing, which receives food waste close to its use-by date and redistributes it through a community larder. The charity also runs a warm spot and a food cooking demo twice a month from Stricklandgate House, as well as a pay-as-you-can People’s Café from a different venue once a week. Stricklandgate House Trust aims to convert the underused Coach House into a training kitchen, and to create a new community café in the adjacent meeting room, enabling Waste into Wellbeing to bring both of its operations under one roof. The AHF Crowdfunding Challenge Grant will match funds raised through the Trust’s crowdfunding campaign, which will focus on capital works to fit the training kitchen.


Image: The School Room. Photo courtesy of GW Arts CIC. 

School Room, Penryn, Cornwall (GW Arts CIC)

Located behind the Penryn Methodist Church, the School Room is a Grade II-listed building constructed in 1891 as a Sunday School. Since the Sunday School’s closure, the building has been used by the Church for functions and by local organisations for community activities, however, this use has declined over recent years. GW Arts is a community arts organisation with a mission to improve lives through the creative arts. The organisation plans to sympathetically transform the School Room into a new, high-quality creative destination for Penryn town centre, with a community art room, a gallery space and a professional hub for the creative industries. The AHF Project Development Grant will support consultant costs to help develop the project to the next stage.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas. It provides advice, grants and loans, and is the only specialist heritage social investor in the UK.
  2. The AHF’s Transforming Places through Heritage programme in England, funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has supported projects that will contribute to the transformation of high streets and town centres.
  3. For press enquiries, please contact Tia Jackson at

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