Hundreds of neglected historic buildings across the East Midlands could qualify for special grants to help bring them back into life.
Partner Heather Frecklington is reminding community organisations that Heritage Enterprise funding is available to help with some of the costs to repair derelict historic places, which could be the key to giving them productive new uses.
She is urging groups to look around their villages, towns and cities with a fresh pair of eyes and consider whether developments could become commercially viable if they received a cash injection via Heritage Enterprise, which is operated by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
“For many property owners, owning a historic building requires a great deal of investment, firstly potentially restoring those buildings and secondly keeping them in good repair,” said Heather. “The cost of repairing a neglected historic building is often so high that restoration simply isn’t commercially viable. The aim of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Heritage Enterprise programme is to make such schemes possible by funding some of the repair costs with grants of £100,000 to £5 million available.”
Focus, has been involved in a number of successful Heritage Enterprise bids and is currently advising several clients on their applications.
“The fund is primarily for enterprising community organisations to help them rescue neglected historic buildings and sites and return them to a viable productive use,” said Heather. “It is designed to bridge the funding gap that prevents an historic asset in need of repair from being returned to a beneficial and commercial use. The case for grant funding will depend on there being a conservation deficit. This is where the existing value of a heritage asset plus the cost of bringing it back into use is greater than the value of the asset after development has been completed.”