Transforming Coventry through heritage

Plans to restore three of Coventry’s prime historic buildings – and support Historic Coventry Trust – have received a major financial boost.

Historic Coventry Trust has been recognised as national trailblazer with funding awarded by the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF).

The AHF’s Transforming Places Through Heritage programme has awarded Historic Coventry Trust £500,000 as part of a campaign to regenerate and renew high streets and town centres in England by supporting charities and social enterprises to create sustainable new uses for redundant or underused historic buildings.

Our scheme to restore three timber-framed cottages in Priory Row and transform them into unique accommodation for visitors to the city has been boosted by £350,000, while Historic Coventry Trust has been granted £150,000 to help our development as we looks to restore 22 historic buildings across the city – a unique model in the UK.

Historic Coventry Trust is one of only four heritage regeneration organisations around the country to receive a Heritage Development Trust Pilot Grant to help ensure its long-term sustainability, community impact and legacy.

These grants have been awarded to exemplar projects that find alternative uses for buildings that will boost the wider regeneration of the high street or town centre. Particular emphasis was given to projects that present new ownership structures and investment models that act as a catalyst for other owners.

Ian Harrabin, Chairman of Historic Coventry Trust, said:

“We are really pleased at this huge recognition in a nationwide competition. What we are delivering in partnership with Coventry City Council is really ambitious in both scale and speed, with 2021 firmly in our sights.

“The £150,000 grant towards employing staff is extremely valuable with so much to do in such a short period of time. The funding will carry us past 2021 so we can really secure an on-going legacy from the year of culture.

“The Priory Row grant of £350,000 allows us to firmly commit to restore these buildings as exceptional places to stay during the 2021 year. We plan to start work in April and open them up to the public before the end of this year. As the last remaining buildings from Godiva’s original Cathedral to survive the Dissolution of the Monasteries they will really be something unique.”

Jim O’Boyle Coventry Council’s Cabinet member for Jobs and Regeneration said:

“This is fantastic news and a further endorsement of the Council’s decision to transfer the ownership of the buildings to the Trust. These exceptional buildings, that have been overlooked for so long, will be a boost to the visitor economy, generating spend and jobs in the retail core. But they also help to improve the city’s image which will have a wider impact on prosperity for years to come.”

Historic Coventry Trust was established in 2011 in response to community action to save the Charterhouse and is now leading a portfolio of heritage projects in the city including The Burges and Drapers’ Hall.

The Transforming Places Through Heritage programme is funded by a £15 million grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and awarded more than £2 million in this round of grant-making.

Heritage Minister Helen Whately has acknowledged the value of the Architectural Heritage Fund’s programme to local communities. She said:

“I am delighted that this government investment will encourage more charities and social enterprises to make use of historic buildings at the heart of our towns and cities. This funding will support local projects across the country, attracting increased investment, creating jobs and community identity.”

Liz Peace, Chairman, the Architectural Heritage Fund, said:

“Congratulations to all the organisations on receiving their grants for projects that will contribute enormously towards transforming high streets and town centres into thriving places, strengthening local communities and encouraging local economies to prosper. The AHF is extremely pleased to be working within a new, bold and exciting programme of regeneration where we can help maximise the benefits to local communities.”

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