The grant comes from the Challenge Fund for Buildings at Risk, a national scheme launched in 2011 which is jointly funded by English Heritage and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and administered by the independent charity the Architectural Heritage Fund. The aim of the Challenge Fund is to assist the rescue of Grade I and II* Listed Buildings at Risk and to support the efforts of local volunteers engaged in this work.
Like other match-funding commitments already received, the grant is conditional on a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the bulk of the capital costs of restoration.
“We submitted an application to the AHF in early June and are delighted with this exciting news. It is a great boost to the project and reward for the work that a lot of people have put in over recent months. Together with the recently announced contributions from the County and District Councils, it will strengthen our application next month to the Heritage Lottery,“ said Charles Wild, Chair of the Bridport Area Development Trust.
Launching the Challenge Fund in 2011,
- Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said: “This is a pioneering new venture for the heritage world between a public body with national expertise, a charity with a grass roots network and the charitable foundation of a major philanthropist. It specifically supports rescues of Grade I and II* listed buildings at risk, some of the country’s most important historic treasures which are on our danger list – the Heritage at Risk register. As well as providing a financial kick-start, the Challenge Fund will also help to spread skills and experience to more people at local level. The result should be more historic buildings at risk finding a new use and once more lending character and dignity to their neighbourhoods – indeed to the country as a whole.”
- 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. These grants will help to unlock funds which have been endowed for building restoration in specific areas of the country but which on their own just 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 foundations or to provide development funding at a vital early stage.”
- Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “I am delighted that my Foundation is contributing to a solution for at least some of England’s 1,600 Grade I and II* buildings at risk and am proud of the fact that the Challenge Fund will create a wealth of new talent in the process. Philanthropy is well-established in other cultural fields but England’s very special heritage forms the backdrop to all our lives and the people who put countless voluntary hours and untold effort into saving it from neglect and decay deserve the strongest possible support.”