The Architectural Heritage Fund: helping Community Land Trusts revitalise heritage for housing

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Matthew McKeague, Chief Executive at Architectural Heritage Fund and Jennie Lindquist, Research Intern discuss what the Architectural Heritage Fund means for CLTs 

In 2017, the Architectural Heritage Fund invested in two Community Land Trusts, Granby 4 Streets CLT and Heart of Hastings CLT. It is hoped that more CLTs look at the possibilities presented by heritage buildings, and the Architectural Heritage Fund is able to help fund feasibility studies through its grant programmes and also provides loans to help finance capital projects.

Working to promote the reuse of listed heritage buildings for the benefit of communities, the AHF is the leading heritage social investor and the only specialist heritage lender operating in the UK. The AHF is especially interested in heritage building projects that have a social impact or assist with the regeneration of economically deprived areas. With goals complementary to community land trust organisations, the AHF can be a crucial resource for CLTs looking for advice, information and financial options for heritage building reuse.

“There has to be some heritage aspect to it,” said Jess Steele, trustee for the Heart of Hastings CLT and the AHF support officer for the Northwest. “We are welcoming CLTs to apply for our grants.”

After helping others and going through the process herself, Steele encourages CLTs to apply for the AHF funding. Her advice: be clear about the heritage value of the building or buildings applicable for heritage reuse and understand the grant and loan options from the AHF.

Steele insists prior knowledge of heritage building care is not a requirement. 

“We hope to see more CLTs take on historic buildings,” said Steele. “They can learn and share with others.”

After 25 years of neglect and under the threat of demolition, Granby 4 Street CLT, based in a historic area of Liverpool, grew out of a campaign by the Granby Residents’ Association to save four Victorian streets. The CLT currently maintains several partnerships and is working on capital projects including The 4 Corners renovation, providing retail, workspaces, community art space and an indoor garden.

While none of the Victorian structures are listed, the CLT made a successful argument forthe heritage value of the area that led to a successful £29,800 Project Development Grant.

“Although not listed, these houses are very much a part of the fabric of this community and imaginative adaption and regeneration is the model the community wants to see here, a model we’re very happy to support,” said Matthew Mckeague, director of the Architectural Heritage Fund 

The AHF History and Core Services

 Since 1976, the Architectural Heritage Fund has awarded loans with a total value of £125m to over 890 projects across the UK, disbursing more than 750 individual early project grants totalling over £10M. Set up with £500,000 from the UK Government, the Architectural Heritage Fund’s lending resources are now worth over £13 million. The AHF invests in projects led by social enterprises, charities and building preservation trusts that lead to the reuse or expand the use of a historic building. 

The AHF offers two types of grants and loan facilities to charities or non-profits. There are two types of grant currently available (assisted by the Department for Digital, Media and Sport’s funding for the ‘Community Enterprise through Heritage’ scheme): Project Viability Grants, up to £7,500, and Project Development Grants, up to £35,000. Priority is given to applicants providing at least a 50 percent partnership funding from other sources. 

The AHF recommends a sequential order for grant applicants. Project Viability Grants assist in guaranteeing the feasibility of a building redevelopment project before proceeding to development. Thus the Project Viability Grant should be applied for before the Project Development Grant. 

Loans are available for building acquisition, renovation, or other project costs. Flexible interest rates are tailored to each project. 

Multiple types of grants and loans can be held by an applicant on different buildings or the same building at one time. 

If you require further information about the AHF, our funding or our support services please take a look at our website for further information: ahf@ahfund.org.uk.

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