AHF Annual Review 2018/19 and Strategy for 2020-23 issued

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has announced the publication of its Annual Review for 2018/19 and the new Strategy for 2020-23.

AHF writes:

This year’s Annual Review highlights a range of projects we have helped support over the course of the last year, along with the launch of the new Heritage Impact Fund across the UK. The Review also looks back at the recently completed £3m Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) funded ‘Community Enterprise through Heritage’ programme. To date, this funding has helped support 85 historic buildings in England transfer into community ownership, a key aim of the programme.

We also secured new grant funding this year, in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, the award from Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has enabled an expansion of our role and the award of significant new funds and, just as importantly, enabled us to provide increased advice and guidance to individual projects. In England, we secured £15m from DCMS – the largest investment that the AHF has ever secured – for our ‘Transforming Places through Heritage’ programme in England. This will assist charities and social enterprises across England to develop projects that help regenerate town centres and high-streets through the re-use of historic buildings. In Northern Ireland, we were also grateful to receive a further year of funding from the Pilgrim Trust to support our programme of support there. In addition to DCMS, HES and the Pilgrim Trust, we remain extremely grateful to all our other funders that support our work across the UK – including Historic England, Cadw and the Welsh Government, the Department for Communities, Northern Ireland, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, William Grant Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Strategy 2020-23: As well as funding, we have provided much needed support and advice to organisations undertaking projects, an ongoing and still very vital part of our work. We are always heartened to see the enthusiasm communities have for taking on and re-using old buildings but we know that requires skills, knowledge and experience, particularly in more economically deprived communities where time and resources can be in short supply.

Our new Strategy for 2020-23 sets out our aims for the next few years and our ongoing purpose of working with communities, specifically through locally rooted social enterprises and charities, to help them transform historic buildings for new uses in villages, towns and cities across the UK. Our updated strategic aims are:

  • To support people, communities and organisations to take ownership of, repair and adapt historic buildings and places for new sustainable uses
  • To attract more investment for the conservation and sustainable re-use of the UK’s architectural heritage;
  • To inspire the start-up and growth of new community enterprises that utilise historic buildings and places for public benefit;
  • To demonstrate the value of a well-managed historic environment by championing and showcasing the impact of the projects we have supported;

We know that historic buildings make for a better quality of life, that they help foster civic pride and there is now a welcome focus on the role that building re-use can play in mitigating the impacts of the climate crisis. As always, we welcome conversations with new and existing partner organisations, funders and donors about how we can work in partnership to deliver more together.

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