Community groups in rural villages interested in regenerating historic buildings, which are either listed or in a conservation area, are invited to come forward for grants available to support their adaptation for new uses that tackle rural poverty and social isolation. Village Catalyst can provide early-stage feasibility and development funding, as well as capital grants.
This innovative partnership between the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, the Department for Communities, the Architectural Heritage Fund and the NI Housing Executive builds on a successful four-year pilot involving 4 projects. So far, the programme has supported the restoration of a 19th-century bank in Rathfriland; a historic wool store in Caledon; a tobacconist’s in Ederney; and a Georgian house and shop in Gracehill for a diverse range of core community uses. Together, these once derelict buildings now house four community-led affordable housing units, a childcare facility (now employing 15 people), and a centre for wellbeing and co-working. These distinctive village regeneration projects attracted funding from an equally diverse range of sources, including substantial investment from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. They are also sparking off other similar projects and growing local community wealth – having the desired catalytic effect.
Charities and social enterprises can avail of Project Viability Grants of up to £10,000 to establish the community's needs, assess the building's condition and obtain costs. Project Development Grants of up to £20,000 can help to secure consents, refine the business plan and fund a Project Manager. Delivery Grants of up to £200,000 are available to plug the funding deficit for capital works.
For further information, please visit: Northern Ireland | The Architectural Heritage Fund (ahfund.org.uk)
Notes to Editors
- The Village Catalyst grant scheme is a partnership initiative between the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, the Department for Communities, the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Village Catalyst shows how dereliction can be tackled by making the most of these historic assets in ways that best benefit the communities in which they sit.
- Applications are invited from charities, social enterprises and other not for profit groups in rural villages of less than 5,000 people, who want to tackle rural poverty and social isolation in their area by developing a sustainable use for a disused historic building.
- Funding of up to £10k is available to support project viability work. This support is administered by the Architectural Heritage Fund.
- Funding of up to £20k is available to support project development work. This support is also administered by the Architectural Heritage Fund.
- Funding of up to £200k is available to support project delivery i.e. capital works on site to enable the historic building to deliver a sustainable use that helps to tackle rural poverty and social isolation. This support is administered by the Department for Communities. It seeks to make up an identified funding shortfall between project costs and community resources available to support the project. For further information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org