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Posted 18 November 2021

Seed funding for village revival projects, Northern Ireland


The Architectural Heritage Fund is keen to hear from charities or social enterprises based in villages in Northern Ireland who are interested in finding long-term uses for empty historic buildings which target rural poverty and social isolation.

AHF’s Heritage Transformed advice, grants and loans programme in NI is funded by the Department for Communities, the Pilgrim Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation.  It is designed to help community groups test out their ideas for listed buildings, or historic buildings in conservation areas which best serve their core needs.

The early-stage Project Viability Grants, which are currently up to £10,000, are very flexible and tailored to the individual group’s needs.  Funding can, for example: help groups carry out condition surveys and architectural feasibility studies by suitably qualified heritage professionals; establish broad costs; engage with the community to identify its core needs; test meanwhile uses; and develop business plans. 

AHF’s Project Viability Report template helps groups pull information together in an easily digestible format and, if a business case can be made, this can be used to approach other funders.

For those groups who have already established broad viability, AHF can also provide a small number of Project Development Grants of up to £20,000 to move projects on to their next stage of investment readiness, including securing planning permission and listed building consent, or employing a Project Manager.

While AHF’s usual requirement for match funding is not currently essential, it is desirable as a means of securing buy-in from other stakeholders.

Applications for Project Development Grants need to be made by 10th January 2022 while Project Viability Grant applications can be submitted any time before end February 2022.  All awards must be made by end March 2022. 

Funding is limited, so enquiries are welcome now via:


The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is the UK’s leading social investor and helps communities find enterprising new uses for the old buildings they love.  The Heritage Transformed programme in NI is supported by the Department for Communities’ Historic Environment Division, The Pilgrim Trust and Garfield Weston Foundation. 

For press enquiries please contact Rita Harkin, NI Support Officer, 07789 758080, Oliver Brodrick-Ward, or Matthew McKeague, 07429 799335.


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