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Lottery announces Heritage Impact Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has announced a new social investment fund which aims to boost communities by facilitating the re-use of historic buildings.

Launching last week, the £7m Heritage Impact Fund (HIF) will provide loan finance to non-profit organisations looking to acquire or revive derelict heritage buildings for good causes.

The fund – a first for the National Lottery Heritage Fund, who previously only funded grants – will aim help charities strengthen their business models and reduce their reliance on grants, the non-departmental public body has claimed.

The Heritage Impact Fund will be delivered in partnership with the Architectural Heritage Fund, Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland and Rathbone Greenbank Investments.

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: ‘This partnership is the first of the strategic initiatives arising from our new Strategic Funding 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.’

The HIF will offer charities, social enterprises and community businesses loans between £25,000 and £500,000 per project for a maximum term of three years, with tailored terms and incentivised rates for projects that will have particular social or economic impact.

The fund will help organisations looking to acquire, reuse or redevelop buildings of historic or architectural importance if they can clearly demonstrate that their project will benefit the local economy and community.

Examples of projects the fund will support include the creation of jobs, training and volunteering opportunities, and the restoration of buildings for commercial and community uses.

The Architectural Heritage Fund, who are lead partners in the project and will administer the fund, explained that the fund is open to organisations outside the heritage sector.

Matthew McKeague, CEO of the Architectural Heritage Fund, said: ‘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.’

A spokesman for fellow HIF partners Historic England said the fund would help get the best out of public money and support organisations who aim to be more sustainable in their projects.

‘Community organisations and social enterprises are playing an increasingly innovative and important role in helping historic places to thrive and to benefit local people,’ said Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England.

‘By our partnership in this work we are helping public money go further and supporting sustainable businesses.’

The Fund applies to England for now, with a separate announcement expected for Scotland next month. Organisations interested in applying for a loan from the Heritage Impact Fund can find out more about the HIF here.

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