Focus Partner Heather Frecklington
Hundreds of neglected historic buildings across the East
Midlands could qualify for special grants to help bring them back into life.
That’s the view of funding experts at Focus Consultants,
which has successfully secured more than £953 million in various grants and
funds for projects over the past 21 years.
Partner Heather Frecklington is reminding community
organisations that Heritage Enterprise funding is available to help with some
of the costs to repair derelict historic places, which could be the key to giving
them productive new uses.
She is urging groups to look around their villages, towns
and cities with a fresh pair of eyes and consider whether developments could become
commercially viable if they received a cash injection via Heritage Enterprise,
which is operated by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
“For many property owners, owning a historic building
requires a great deal of investment, firstly potentially restoring those
buildings and secondly keeping them in good repair,” said Heather. “The cost of
repairing a neglected historic building is often so high that restoration
simply isn’t commercially viable. The aim of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s
Heritage Enterprise programme is to make such schemes possible by funding some
of the repair costs with grants of £100,000 to £5 million available.”
Nottingham-based Focus, which also has branches in London
and Leicester, and in Aubourn and Boston in Lincolnshire, has been involved in
a number of successful Heritage Enterprise bids and is currently advising several
clients on their applications.
“The fund is primarily for enterprising community
organisations to help them rescue neglected historic buildings and sites and
return them to a viable productive use,” said Heather. “It is designed to
bridge the funding gap that prevents an historic asset in need of repair from
being returned to a beneficial and commercial use. The case for grant funding
will depend on there being a conservation deficit. This is where the existing
value of a heritage asset plus the cost of bringing it back into use is greater
than the value of the asset after development has been completed.”
Focus specialises in funding and economic development
including area regeneration strategies, funding applications, economic impact
appraisals, business plans, and research and evaluation. Since 1994 Focus has
also secured for clients more than £953 million of grants for projects and
businesses across the UK and delivered more than £1.3 billion worth of projects
and programmes – making it one of the most successful businesses of its kind in
the country.
It also offers a range of services to the property and
construction industry, including building surveying, quantity surveying,
project management, and sustainable development support.
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