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AHF announces grants for heritage projects

Words: Laura Edgar
Grant funding / iStock-878953966

Projects in England that seek to revitalise local high streets will receive grant money from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF).

AHF’s Transforming Places through Heritage programme is aimed at local groups, charities and social enterprises to help them to create new uses for neglected or underused historic buildings.

It is part of a £15 million fund from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

The six awards, which comprise three Project Development Grants, two Crowdfunding Challenge Grants and one Project Viability Grant, are:

  • £25,000 for a crowdfunding campaign for the Morecambe Winter Gardens, once known as the “Albert Hall of the North”. (Crowdfunding Challenge Grant)
  • £68,000 for a project to transform Centenary House, a former Co-op department store in Morecambe West End’s High Street, into a community enterprise hub with creative studios, a learning centre, and shared workspace. Project Development Grant)
  • £62,475 for a former coaching inn and landmark heritage site in Great Torrington, Devon, set to be transformed into a community-owned training hotel with an arts focus. (Project Development Grant)
  • £15,000 for plans to repurpose the Church of St John the Evangelist, Lancaster, into a co-working space, focused on collaborative working and support for emerging businesses. (Project Viability Grant)
  • £74,732 for the Old Bank in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. The Parish of St Mary’s Church bought the building with plans to redevelop it into a community hub providing support for local people in need, including flexible workspaces. (project Development Grant)
  • £22,500 for 20 Dragon Street in Petersfield, Hampshire. The building is being restored to become a youth centre and permanent base for the King’s Arms youth charity, which employs a team of specialist youth workers that work with young people with autism or Down’s Syndrome. (Crowdfunding Challenge Grant)

Matthew Mckeague, CEO of the Architectural Heritage Fund, said: “The high street has been buffeted over many years from the forces of online shopping, rising costs and most recently the impact of Covid-19. But we believe there is an opportunity to rethink their role radically. Part of this is finding imaginative new uses for old or historic spaces that help revitalise town centres and build fresh connections within communities.

“There has never been a more important time for projects like this. They give a glimpse of what our future high streets could look like, for example, providing new kinds of flexible workspaces in local communities. In this latest round we were particularly looking for projects which take account of the emerging needs of communities post-pandemic, and all these projects respond to identified needs within the communities that will assist the recovery.”
The AHF is now inviting applications for the next round of Transforming Places through Heritage Grants. The deadline for applications is 30th October. More details can be found here.

Image credit | iStock