The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has announced a £5 million, three-year partnership programme to save heritage across the UK – by empowering people to come together to revive unused buildings and support expert regeneration in some of the UK’s most deprived places and communities.

(c) Paul Alexander Knox

Expressions of Interest for this new programme open today.

This new long-term partnership will expand the current HDT programme across the UK, to cover a range of organisations, from small volunteer-led trusts looking to expand, through mid-tier trusts with the potential for growth, to well-established, larger trusts that are looking to make a larger impact in a particular community, place or wider area.

The new Heritage Development Trusts will receive a package of funding that includes three-year revenue grants between £55k-£70k per annum, as well as guidance from consultants and mentors to develop their skills and knowledge alongside peer-to-peer support to expand their network of contacts, with regular events to share expertise and experience. They will also be eligible to apply for project viability grants and project development grants to help bring historic buildings back into use.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the AHF are working in partnership to fund trusts across the UK because both organisations are committed to strengthening the capability and resilience of trusts in the built heritage sector. Established trusts will be supported to grow a pipeline of projects and expand their portfolio with the aim of making them more sustainable and connecting people and communities to the UK heritage.

As well as grant funding, additional support will be given to develop the skills of volunteers and established groups who want to turn their passion into a reality and revive unused buildings to give them a new purpose and place in their community.

What is a Heritage Development Trust?

Heritage Development Trusts conserve, redevelop and look after a portfolio of historic buildings to benefit their local area. They are community-led charities or social enterprises that work in partnership with local government, business and other charities to bring about place-based regeneration through the reuse of historic buildings.

This new programme is looking to support such organisations to develop portfolios of historic buildings from which they can generate income, ensuring these important trusts become resilient and financially sustainable.

How to apply

Organisations will be required to submit an Expression of Interest by 9am on Monday 26 June. Trusts that are shortlisted will be invited to submit a full application by September, and decisions on grant funding will be made in December 2023.

Matthew Mckeague, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund, said: “The AHF has been supporting heritage trusts to conserve and reuse historic buildings for nearly fifty years, and over that time we have learned that partnership is often the key to long-term success.

“Partnership is at the root of the Heritage Development Trust model – where trusts partner with local authorities and end-users to turn ‘problem buildings’ into thriving assets that benefit their communities.”


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