Three Scottish charities are being empowered to take over and transform at-risk  buildings across the country.

Scotland is to benefit from a share of a new £5 million fund empowering communities to breathe new life into disused and at-risk historic buildings.

The money will help charities Glasgow Building Preservation TrustNorth East Scotland Preservation Trust and Fife Historic Buildings Trust take on dilapidated buildings in their areas and create a valuable range of new spaces for their local communities.

In Glasgow, it will help Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, which has been at the forefront of saving Glasgow’s historic built environment for over 40 years, take over dilapidated buildings and create a valuable range of new spaces for the community.

In Portsoy, it will help the North East Scotland Preservation Trust bring back into productive use four iconic, listed buildings at the Old Harbour. The buildings have been left to the Trust in the will of the late Thomas Burnett-Stuart and include the Category A listed Corf House designed by John Adam in 1765, the category B listed Marble Workshop and Granary, and the Category C listed Rag Warehouse.

And the money will help Fife Historic Buildings Trust work with partners and stakeholders in Dunfermline to find new uses for the city’s historic buildings and capitalise on the social, economic and environmental opportunities of Dunfermline’s city status.

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, the NESPT will receive a package of funding to help it scale up its operations to redevelop a pipeline of local historic buildings in Portsoy. 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.

Marcus Humphrey, Chairman of the North East Scotland Preservation Trust, said “We are most grateful to the Architectural Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Heritage Fund for including us in the programme. It will be transformational both for the Trust and for Portsoy. Bringing the largely unused buildings back into use will benefit the local community and secure a long-term sustainable future for the Trust”.

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 Portsoy. 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:

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.

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