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New fund is music to the ears of heritage groups

18 July 2011

Another £2million has been put into the heritage pot, thanks to composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation’s donation of £1million has been matched by English Heritage to create a new fund called the Challenge Fund, to be administered by the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF), an independent charity.

AHF will disburse it in grants of up to £200,000 each over the next five years to voluntary sector groups such as building preservation trusts, civic societies and development and groundwork trusts that take on historic building rescues.

It is hoped the grants from the Challenge Fund will help to unlock funds that have been endowed for building restoration but that, on their own, aren’t enough.

For most projects, these grants will be used as match funding for applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery or other funding, or to provide development funding at a vital early stage.

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of the AHF, said: “Currently, of the 250 building preservation trusts in existence, only about 100 are fully active. The rest are unable to find sufficient funds to take on a rescue or lack the expertise and confidence to tackle complex and demanding Grade I and II* buildings.

“Through the Challenge Fund we will be able to marry the terrific knowledge and skills of organisations such as the Prince’s Regeneration Trust or the Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire with smaller building preservation trusts that have passion and commitment but less confidence and that lack specialist skills.”

 

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