Charities and Social Enterprises urged to apply for £1.3 million grant programme

Charities and social enterprises are being urged to apply for a share of a further £1.3m of funding available this year (2019/20) for projects to reinvigorate England’s high streets and town centres from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF).

So far, The Architectural Heritage Fund has awarded £527,980 out of a total of £1,825,000 for this year to 15 projects aiming to breathe new life into high streets and town centres across England as part of the new Transforming Places Through Heritage Fund.

This is from a total of £12m available over four years, from 2019 – 2023, and the AHF is considering applications on a rolling basis.

The Transforming Places through Heritage Fund is aimed at community businesses, social enterprises and charitable ventures with creative ideas for bringing life back to old buildings, increasing the mix of uses and diversifying ownership. It provides a range of funding for projects at different stages of development – whether just starting out, ready to move forward with their plans, or starting restoration of a building.

There is an overall limit of £150,000 on the total funding that will be given for developing one project, with the exception of Transformational Project Grants where the overall max is £500,000 (split into £150,000 development funding and £300,000 capital funding).

The programme forms part of the Government’s approach to the future of the high street, which also includes the Future High Streets Fund and High Street Heritage Action Zones.

Projects awarded funding so far include:

o A Project Development Grant of £73,762 to the St Ives Community Land Trust, which proposes to create two 1-bed flats and four 2-bed flats in the former vicarage of St Ives, and
o A project development grant of £68,000 to help the Friends of Stretford Public Hall (FoSPH) develop the next stage of capital regeneration plans at the Grade II former music hall (see image below).  Since securing the freehold, FoSPH has renovated part of the ground floor with over 30 co-working and studio tenants and by increasing cultural activities and classes. A community share offer raised £256k, with over 800 investors, in just over a month. The next stage of the project is to modernise parts of the building, making it the largest cultural space in Stretford. The Hall’s regeneration fits into a wider approach to the town’s regeneration, one being led by the local authority through its Future High Street Fund bid.

Matthew Mckeague, CEO, the Architectural Heritage Fund, said:

This is an inspiring range of projects receiving awards in our first round of Transforming Places through Heritage. The projects include a real mix of uses and proposals – from community led housing to new arts spaces – that will lead to the regeneration of historic buildings on high streets and in town centres across England. We know that social enterprises and charities can be instrumental in reinvigorating towns and high streets and in helping reimagine the role these places and spaces can play for 21st century communities. We’re really looking forward to working with all these projects as they develop.”

The Architectural Heritage Fund has yet to release the full list of 15 projects awarded funding through its Transforming Places through Heritage Fund. We’ll publish the list as soon as it’s in the public domain.

Image: Stretford Public Hall