New £7m loan fund to help charities reuse heritage buildings

Fund aims to support charities to reuse historic buildings

By Annette McGill

The Architectural Heritage Fund has launched a new £7m loan fund that that will help charities deliver economic and social impact from re-using heritage buildings.

The Heritage Impact Fund will offer tailored loan finance for charities, social enterprises and community businesses across the UK that want to acquire, reuse or redevelop buildings of historical or architectural importance.

These buildings may be listed, in a conservation area, or may be of special significance to the community. 

Architectural Heritage Fund Chief Executive Matthew Mckeague said: “The fund can be used for almost any type of loan to support a project - from working capital during the construction phase, to capital to grow the scope of a business or to finance to acquire a property.”

Loans of up to £500,000 per project will be available, with a maximum three-year term.  Further details are available from the website at

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is a charity that the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities. The new loan fund is a partnership with contributions from the AHF (£1.42m), the National Lottery Heritage Fund (£2.25m), Historic England (£800k), Historic Environment Scotland (£427k) and the Welsh historic environment service Cadw (£100k).

The AHF has recently published a case study (pdf) looking at how it has supported the restoration of the Church and Monastery of St Francis, Gorton, Manchester. The case study highlights the fact that most historic building restoration projects are likely to require working capital to ensure cashflow is maintained throughout the project, particularly during the gaps in receiving grant payments from different funders.

New business support service

Alongside the Fund, the AHF is launching a new business support service – RePlan – to provide access to pro bono expert advice to organisations that would benefit from capacity building support, assistance with business transformation, transition or expansion. Based on AHF’s experience of when projects need most support, RePlan will be targeted at organisations completing a capital project or looking to build on or scale-up their existing enterprises.