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Flax Mill, Fife, Scotland
Flax Mill, Fife, Scotland

Heritage Impact Fund (HIF) makes £5m of impact investment offers

18 July 2020

Following its launch in 2019, the Heritage Impact Fund (HIF) has just reached the £5m loan offer mark. Valley Heritage, Fife Employment Access Trust, and White Rock Ventures are three of the seventeen organisations offered funding from the HIF in just thirteen months.  

The HIF offers tailored finance for charities, social enterprises, and community businesses across the UK to give a new future to iconic or historical buildings at the very heart of local economies. 

This initiative continues the AHF’s strong track record of supporting community-based projects at every stage of their life-span. By providing previously hard to access capital for projects to develop and flourish, the HIF enables communities to grow employment, training and volunteer opportunities while increasing their vibrancy through heritage led regeneration.  

It is a joint initiative made possible by contributions from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland, Cadw, Department for Communities Northern Ireland and the Architectural Heritage Fund itself.  

The HIF was predicated on the knowledge  that organisations can utilise a greater number of funding options in their delivery and operation, including the use of an increased amount of loan finance. Recognising that financial assistance is not always enough, the HIF also supports organisations through RePlan.  This post-investment mentorship platform is run in partnership with Social Investment Business and draws on the AHF’s network and decades of sector experience.  

In light of the challenges presented by the current pandemic, the need for creative, community building and bridging initiatives has rarely been greater. The AHF is continuously and collaboratively exploring the best ways to help the sector manage the crisis. We remain committed to supporting existing and potential portfolio organisations develop, adapt and prepare for the future throughout this period of uncertainty. 

Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) was set up in 1994 by a group of local people experiencing mental health barriers to employment. Today, it is said to be the key player in mental health and employability provision in Fife, Scotland, providing support to between 400 and 500 people annually.  

In partnership with Fife Council, and following AHF’s support, FEAT is redeveloping a 19th-century B listed Flax Mill currently on the Buildings at Risk register into a multi-use space facility including a hostel, café, office spaces, meeting and training facilities including crafts workshops. 

Find out more about the project here: 

Alongside other social investment funds, the HIF has provided  White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures with a loan to redevelop the Observer Building into over 2000+ sq.m. of workspace for local enterprises and start-ups, providing opportunities for up to 300 jobs locally, and the development of 16 affordable homes for the local community.  

The Observer Building is in Hastings, a seaside town situated on the coast in East Sussex which falls within one of the most deprived areas in England. It is a landmark building and former printworks close to the town centre; built in 1924, it has been derelict for more than 30 years.  

Find out more about the project here:

Thanks to a loan from the HIF and further funding from Rossendale Borough Council, Valley Heritage, is preserving the iconic Lancashire and Yorkshire bank in Bacup town centre. 

The 19th century Grade II Listed landmark will be transformed into a much-needed co-working hub for the area, in partnership with Indycube. The upstairs will become four self-contained apartments for single young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, in partnership with M3 Project. 

Find out more about the project here:   

Photo Credits

Fife Employment Access

Editor’s notes  

1) The Architectural Heritage Fund 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. We are the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK. We provide advice, development grants and loans.  

2) For media enquiries please contact Oliver Brodrick Ward, on 020 79250199 / 

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