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Bangor Court House, Northern Ireland. photo credit: Open House Festival
Bangor Court House, Northern Ireland. photo credit: Open House Festival

Support for community-led heritage regeneration in Northern Ireland and Wales

5 May 2020

The Architectural Heritage Fund is delighted to be able to announce new financial support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Pilgrim Trust, the Department for Communities and Cadw that will enable us to continue to support community and not-for-private profit organisations and their heritage regeneration projects across Northern Ireland and Wales.

This funding means that the AHF Support Officers in Northern Ireland and Wales will continue to offer direct support to projects in each country, and for Project Viability and Project Development Grants to be distributed.  Project Viability Grants can help pay for work to test ideas and establish if a project might be viable or not – this can include work towards business planning, options appraisals, and helping organisations get set up and become a legal entity.  Project Development Grants can help to support organisational capacity by funding a key staff role such as project organiser or fundraiser.  They can also help meet the cost of design team or other professional fees to help projects get ready to apply elsewhere for larger capital funding support.

These activities will build on programmes of support, advice and grants which began in both nations in 2017 and have invested in over 50 projects to date.  As the UK’s leading social investor in heritage, the AHF is keen to ensure that the restoration and reuse projects it supports serve the needs of the most vulnerable in our society.  When life returns to some form of normality, community-led economic regeneration will be even more important than before. 

Kelcey Wilson-Lee (Head of Programmes & Impact) said:

“In the past three years, we have been honoured to work with innovative groups in Wales and Northern Ireland who are driving social change through the adaptation of their built heritage. Thanks to the support of the Pilgrim Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Cadw and the Department for Communities, we are thrilled to continue supporting this work in the years to come.”

Case Studies

Northern Ireland

Annagh Social Farm, near Aughnacloy, was awarded both a Viability and Development Grant to help them to refine their concept to convert the listed Georgian house and outbuildings into overnight accommodation for young adults with autism and learning difficulties.  The Turnaround Project in Belfast is availing of support to help the social enterprise to explore the possibility of converting the 19th-century stable block at Purdysburn House into a Transitions Centre, which will help prisoners on their journeys away from offending.  Ederney Community Development Trust has availed of both a Viability and Development Grant to allow them to transform the listed Pat Murphy House on the Main Street into a health and well-being hub, thus helping to address issues arising from rural poverty and social isolation. 


A Viability Grant was awarded to Enbarr Foundation to explore future uses of the Grade II-listed John Summer’s Steelworks office in Shotton, Deeside. The vision is to create training facilities focussing on STEAM subjects in partnership with local universities for ex-servicemen and women and unemployed people as well as well-being courses. A Development Grant has been awarded to Canolfan Glanhwfa in Llangefni to progress its plans to repurpose the Grade II*-listed chapel vestry to become a centre for older people services working in partnership with Anglesey CBC's Older People Department and Age Concern Cymru. Haverhub have been awarded two development grants to advance its phased restoration of the Grade II-listed former post office site in Haverfordwest to become a multipurpose community facility providing co-working offices, creator spaces, indoor markets, perfor

About the Architectural Heritage Fund

The AHF is the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK.  For over 40 years, it has helped communities across the UK find enterprising new ways to revitalise the old buildings they love, by providing. AHF provides advice, grants and loans and its support acts as a catalyst for putting sustainable heritage at the heart of vibrant local economies.

In the last 15 years, 293 historic buildings across the UK have been regenerated thanks to over £46 million of AHF investment.

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