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Architectural Heritage Foundation launches £7m loan & social investment fund

Architectural Heritage Foundation launches £7m loan & social investment fund

For the first time the Architectural Foundation (AHF) is to fund work on buildings that aren’t run by heritage organisations – as well as those that are – through a new £7m social investment fund.

Unlike the AHF’s existing loan fund, the Heritage Impact Fund will also support enterprises that, alongside traditional heritage projects, are seeking to deliver demonstrable impact in the local economy and community from the re-use of the UK’s heritage buildings. It offers tailored loan finance for charities, social enterprises and community businesses across the UK seeking 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.

It is also the AHF’s first partnership loan fund, and sees the AHF partner with the National Lottery Heritage Fund (which is providing £2.25m of the £7m total), Historic England (£800k), Historic Environment Scotland (£427k) and Cadw (£100k), with the AHF providing £1.42m. Rathbone Greenbank Investments will provide investment management and loan facilities to the AHF.

Loan amounts will be up to £500,000 per project with a maximum three-year term, which can be extended in exceptional circumstances.

Also for the first time, the AHF will help borrowers to evaluate and assess the impact of their projects. The Heritage Impact Fund will also offer incentivised rates for projects that deliver significant economic or social impact, or that can be expanded as a result of the AHF’s assistance. This could include new job creation, the creation of training and volunteering opportunities and the restoration and re-use of heritage buildings for a variety of commercial and community uses.

Alongside the Fund, the AHF is launching a new business support service – RePlan – that will provide access to pro bono expertise, expert advice and guidance to those organisations that would benefit from targeted capacity building support, assistance with business transformation, transition or expansion. RePlan will be particularly targeted at organisations completing a capital project or looking to build upon or scale-up their existing enterprises. 

Matthew Mckeague, Chief Executive, The Architectural Heritage Fund (pictured), said:

“The Heritage Impact Fund is our first partnership loan fund and the first of its kind for the heritage sector. We are extremely pleased to be launching the fund alongside our partners. The Heritage Impact Fund is designed to be flexible, supporting not-for-profit organisations both within and outside the heritage sector, the common link being the re-use of a heritage building and delivering local economic and social benefits.

“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.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“In recent years we’ve seen a growing appetite in the heritage world to make use of loans and other social investments in order to diversify income, strengthen business models and reduce reliance on grants. This partnership is the first of the strategic initiatives arising from our new Strategic Framework. It represents an important opportunity to make National Lottery investment in heritage work harder and deliver positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.”


Main image: Matthew Mckeague CEO Architectural Heritage Fund

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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