Historic buildings could qualify for redevelopment grants, says funding expert

Funding experts at Focus Consultants are urging the owners of historic buildings to consider following in the footsteps of Bridgford Hall which has become the first completed project in the East Midlands to benefit from a Heritage Enterprise Grant.

Focus supported Rushcliffe Borough Council in its successful bid for a £1.5 million Heritage Enterprise Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to redevelop the hall in West Bridgford near Nottingham.

The Grade II listed building has recently reopened as a luxury aparthotel and civil wedding ceremony venue, following a £2.3 million redevelopment – making it the first Heritage Enterprise project to be completed in the East Midlands.

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“The Bridgford Hall project is paving the way in the East Midlands by illustrating how Heritage Enterprise Grants are helping to breathe new life into old buildings,” said Focus partner Heather Frecklington. “The team at Focus has been involved in the project at Bridgford Hall from the early days and it’s always a proud moment when a scheme is successfully completed.

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Bridgford Hall
Bridgford Hall

“This renovation aptly illustrates how a Heritage Enterprise grant can open a new chapter in the life of a building. We’re very proud to have helped to secure the Heritage Enterprise grant for his work – the first to be completed in the East Midlands. Since helping to secure the Heritage Enterprise grant for Bridgford Hall we’ve been involved in supporting other organisations across the UK with their bids and we are looking forward to seeing other schemes come to fruition in the future.

“We’d be delighted to offer funding advice to any organisations that are thinking of similar projects.”

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. The cost of repairing a neglected historic building is often so high that restoration is not commercially viable. The aim of the HLF’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.

Since supporting Rushcliffe Borough Council with its Heritage Enterprise Grant bid, Focus has helped a number of other organisations with their applications including the University of Northampton Students’ Union, for its Engine Shed project, and Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills Foundation Trust on proposals to bring many of the currently unused and listed buildings at the Royal Gunpowder Mills site at Waltham Abbey in Essex back into use.

“Hundreds of neglected historic buildings across the UK could qualify for special grants to help bring them back into life,” added Heather. “Funding experts at Focus have successfully secured millions of pounds in various grants and funds for projects over the past 23 years, and we’d be very pleased to talk to organisations that feel they could benefit from Heritage Enterprise Grants.”

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Nottingham-based Focus, which also has branches in London, Leicester, and Boston in Lincolnshire, 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.