Re-Form Heritage gets new funding to help bring disused historic buildings back to life


12 social enterprises and charities across the UK are being empowered to take over and transform at-risk high street buildings
Stoke-on-Trent is to benefit from a share of a new £5 million fund empowering communities to breathe new life into their disused and at-risk historic buildings.
The money will help take Re-Form Heritage take over dilapidated buildings in Stoke-on-Trent and create a valuable range of new spaces for the community.
The new Heritage Development Trust status will see Re-Form Heritage work alongside numerous stakeholders throughout Stoke-on-Trent, including Stoke-on-Trent City Council, to help preserve Stoke’s internationally significant heritage. The aim of the new trust programme is to help kick-start the regeneration of key heritage sites within Stoke-on-Trent, with capacity funding and other support provided by the AHF and NLHF.
Re-Form Heritage is an independent Stoke-based charity that owns and operates Middleport Pottery, the last continuously operating Victorian pottery in the city, following a successful £9 million regeneration of the site. The charity recently completed a £2.5 million regeneration of the adjacent Harper Street site of 19th-century terraced housing. The work undertaken by Re-Form Heritage has helped to secure Burleigh pottery production, support the local community, create new jobs, and support the small independent traders who are situated at Middleport Pottery and Harper Street.
The funding is being awarded as part of a new partnership between the National Lottery Heritage Fund and charity the Architectural Heritage Fund, to expand the Architectural Heritage Fund’s Heritage Development Trust model across the UK. It follows the success of a pilot programme which supported seven social enterprises and charities in England to repair, restore and reuse at-risk high street and town centre buildings in their local areas.
As one of 12 new Heritage Development Trusts, Re-Form Heritage will receive a package of funding to help it scale up its operations to acquire and redevelop a pipeline of local historic buildings. It can also apply for grants to support early project development, and will be given guidance from consultants and mentors to develop its skills and knowledge alongside peer-to-peer support to expand their reach and influence.
Re-Form Heritage Chief Executive Dr Alasdair Brooks said: “The AHF received 122 expressions of interest for the Heritage Development Trust programme from organisations around the country, and we are delighted to have been chosen as one of the 12 organisations to receive funding. We are excited to have been given this opportunity to work closely with the many stakeholders across the city who supported our application, including Stoke-on-Trent
City Council, and look forward to working with these supporters to help preserve and regenerate the heritage of Stoke-on-Trent”.
Councillor Jane Ashworth, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “We are pleased that Re-Form Heritage’s application to the Architectural Heritage Fund has been successful and are fully committed to working closely with them in the future to ensure heritage sites across the city are safeguarded, brought back to life and give us all something to be proud of. Re-Form has an exceptional track record in Stoke-on-Trent, having led the regeneration of Middleport Pottery and Harper Street, so we are confident that their proposals will benefit our local communities and future generations.”
Joan Walley, Staffordshire Deputy Lieutenant and former MP for Stoke-on-Trent North said: “It is exciting that after all these years we can finally now get started on the next stage of the original vision we had for Middleport, Burslem and the city as a whole. Under Re-Form Heritage’s leadership long-neglected historic and much-loved buildings can now be transformed. While this won’t be achieved overnight, at least we have a phased plan and expertise to bring our heritage fit for future use. This is exactly what we intended when we first set about rescuing Middleport Pottery and many will be delighted by this good news.”
Arts & Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “Through its Heritage Development Trusts, the Architectural Heritage Fund has helped to breathe new life into old buildings across England, creating new jobs, homes, and opportunities. “I am delighted that this new partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund will take the scheme nationwide, making a difference to people and communities across the UK. “I look forward to seeing how these 12 new projects develop and the difference they make to people’s lives – now and long into the future.”
Matthew Mckeague, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has a lot to offer the future of the UK’s places and people. Bringing old buildings back into productive use will protect our country’s rich architectural past while creating important new homes, workplaces and community and cultural venues. We’ve already seen the many benefits this work can bring to communities across the country, including through the success of our first Heritage Development Trusts across England.
“Our partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund is an important commitment to continuing this work in 12 more areas of the UK by giving more people the funding they need to work together to save and restore their most historic and at-risk local buildings. We’re very grateful to the Heritage Fund for this partnership, and to National Lottery players for making it possible.”
Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “As the UK’s largest funder of heritage, we collaborate with organisations which share our vision for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future.
“I am delighted that our £5 million grant funding is supporting the expansion of the Heritage Development Trust programme across the UK – stretching from Medway to Glasgow. This partnership with the Architectural Heritage Fund is supporting communities, charities and heritage groups in 12 towns and cities, to develop plans for the transformation of at-risk historic buildings – boosting pride in place, connection to the past and investing in the future.
“Over the next 10 years, we aim to invest £3.6 billion raised for good causes by National Lottery players, and this programme is one of the ways we can support projects of all sizes across the UK to make a decisive difference for people, places and communities.”
Organisations which have already benefited from Heritage Development Trust funding include not-for-profit Valley Heritage in Bacup, Lancashire which last year restored an empty Victorian bank building into a new co-working space and housing for homeless young people. Meanwhile, in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust has transformed a row of Georgian merchants’ houses once threatened with demolition into a vibrant music venue, coffee shop and bar.
Research by Historic England has found almost half of retail buildings in England and Wales, one third of offices and almost one in five industrial buildings are more than 100 years old. As many as 6,000 shops have become vacant in the last five years according to the BRC’s Local Data Company vacancy monitor from this summer.
The 12 organisations receiving the new funding as part of the Heritage Development Trust programme are:
•Culture Trust Luton in Luton, Bedfordshire
•Glasgow Building Preservation Trust in Glasgow
•Haverfordwest Heritage Ltd in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire
•Heeley Trust in Heeley and Meersbrook, Sheffield
•Fife Historic Buildings Trust, working in Dunfermline, Fife
•Galeri Caernarfon Cyf in Caernarfon, Gwynedd
•Inner City Trust in Derry/Londonderry
•Leicester City Council in Leicester.
•Medway Council, working in Chatham and Rochester, Medway
•North East Scotland Preservation Trust in Portsoy, Aberdeenshire
•Redruth Revival CIC in Redruth, Cornwall
• Re-form Heritage in Stoke-on-Trent

About the Architectural Heritage Fund

The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas. The Architectural Heritage Fund exists to help communities find enterprising ways to revitalise the old buildings they love. We help them with advice, grants and loans. Our support acts as a catalyst for putting sustainable heritage at the heart of vibrant local economies. For over 40 years, we’ve been the leading social investor in creating new futures for historic buildings.
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund As the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future as set out in our strategic plan, Heritage 2033. Over the next ten years, we aim to invest £3.6billion raised for good causes by National Lottery players to bring about benefits for people, places and the natural environment. We help protect, transform and share the things from the past that people care about, from popular museums and historic places, our natural environment and fragile species, to the languages and cultural traditions that celebrate who we are.
We are passionate about heritage and committed to driving innovation and collaboration to make a positive difference to people’s lives today, while leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy. Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund #Heritage2033


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