Heritage Lottery Fund launches restoration grant programme

The Heritage Lottery Fund has launched its new £125million grant programme, Heritage Enterprise, designed to unlock the latent commercial potential of unused historic buildings and sites across the UK.
The Fund will commit at least £25million per annum over the next five years to the scheme, which aims to empower not-for-profit organisations to work in partnership with the private sector to rescue and return neglected historic buildings to productive use.  

The new grant programme was inspired by the new research document New ideas need old buildings, which analysed the relationship between commercial businesses and this country’s historic buildings.

Based on research commissioned by the Fund working with Oxford Economics and Colliers International, one of the conclusions of the research is that businesses based in historic buildings are more productive and generate more wealth, contributing £47billion to the UK economy annually.

Heritage Enterprise hopes to tap into this potential for commercial enterprise, boosting local economies, jobs and skills, by addressing market failure, where historic buildings have failed to attract investment to realise their potential business premium because their cost of repair has meant that it is not commercially viable for private developers to take on.

Grants of between £100,000 and £5million will plug the gap between the costs of repair and the value of the property after restoration.
In addition, projects can apply to the HLF for a limited amount of funding that will support capital works while a project is being planned. This could support urgent repair works to prevent a building’s further deterioration or could include the building of new temporary structures designed to allow meanwhile uses, so that vacant sites can be brought back into use at the earliest opportunity ahead of full restoration.

To help local communities begin a Heritage Enterprise project and organise themselves to take on a heritage building with a constitution which will be eligible for funding, the Fund is also offering start-up grants between £3,000 and £10,000. 

These grants will enable groups to create the organisational structures needed to deliver projects and to help with the associated costs, such as obtaining professional and legal advice.  
The deadlines to apply for a Heritage Enterprise grant will begin in May with first decisions in the Autumn. For further information visit www.hlf.org.uk/HowToApply/programmes/Pages/heritage_enterprise.aspx#.UXaeg0rAGSo.