Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) - Community Heritage Support Fund

Status: Open to applications


A social investment programme to support UK-based community and social businesses working with or within buildings of heritage significance.


Maximum Value: £ 50,000
Minimum Value: £ 15,000

Value Notes

The Fund can provide either:

  • Standalone unsecured loan finance.
  • A blend of both loan finance and community shares.

Investments of between £15,000 and £50,000 are available, with a maximum share purchase of 20% of the total investment allowed.

Loans are capital and interest only and are available for a term of six months to three years (interest is typically 6.5-10%). Community shares are available to assist with capacity-building or investment readiness and should be issued to the AHF in line with the applicant’s current share offer. AHF will not generally seek to withdraw its shares within a minimum of five years from the date of purchase.

An arrangement fee of 1.5% of total investment might also apply.

Extended Description

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is an independent charity that was established to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK.

The AHF provides grants and social investments opportunities that contribute towards its overall strategic objectives and outcomes for heritage and communities:

  • To support people, communities and organisations to take ownership, to repair and to adapt historic buildings and places for new sustainable uses.
  • To attract more investment for the conservation and sustainable re-use of the UK’s architectural heritage.
  • To inspire the start-up and growth of new community enterprises that utilise historic buildings and places for public benefit.
  • To demonstrate the value of a well-managed historic built environment by championing and showcasing the impact of the projects we have supported.

The Community Heritage Support Fund provides investment support, in the form of loans and community shares, to UK-based community and social businesses working to improve the lives of people in their local communities. Loans are intended to support both specific heritage building projects and the activities and sustainability of such organisations, which must be working with or within buildings of heritage significance, to enable them to become established, deliver, survive and then thrive.

Latest Information

Applications may be submitted at any time.

Key Criteria

Applications are invited from UK organisations with a built heritage focus, which operate on a not-for-private profit basis, and which bring about demonstrable and positive impacts upon their respective communities and society as a whole.

Applications from Community Benefit Societies that already have, or are considering the launch of, a community share issue will be especially welcomed.

Organisations should be formally constituted and incorporated charities, community businesses or social enterprises whose members have limited liability, including:

  • Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs).
  • Charitable Companies Limited by Guarantee.
  • Not-for-private-profit Companies Limited by Guarantee.
  • Community Interest Companies (CICs) Limited by Guarantee.
  • Community Benefit Societies.
  • Parish and Town Councils; Community Councils (in Scotland and Wales).

The following additional eligibility criteria applies:

  • Organisations that are not registered charities must have an asset lock in place.
  • Organisations must demonstrate how they consider themselves to be social enterprises or community businesses.
  • Applicants must have traded for a minimum of six months unless the investment request is to support the purchase of an Asset of Community Value, in which case it must be accompanied by a community share issue.
  • Applicants must provide evidence of statutory listing or conservation area within which the relevant historic building is situated.

Eligible Expenditure

The Fund provides standalone unsecured loan finance, or a blend of both loan finance and community shares to community businesses and social enterprises for a variety of activities, such as:

  • To catalyse activities that will increase an enterprise’s revenue streams and contribute to more viable and long-term projects, thereby increasing opportunities for growth and the sustainability of community businesses through the use of heritage assets (eg as current tenants or freeholders of a listed building).
    • For example: a social enterprise trading from a listed building that needs to purchase kitchen equipment to expand its cafe business; or an existing business that requires capital funding to purchase green energy equipment to reduce overheads and better meet its social mission.
  • To help assist and encourage further investment into those community businesses seeking to fund a new community project.
    • For example: a community purchase of a Grade II-listed pub or shop that needs working capital to fit out the premises in order to open to the public. (A community share purchase alongside this could be used to provide support and consultancy to build its capacity or improve its investment readiness).
  • To provide grant bridging (ie providing short-term finance while awaiting an approved grant to be received).
  • To provide short-term working capital support for community businesses.
    • For example: to support a charity that has completed a restoration project but is having difficulties with cashflow in its initial months of trading from that building; or to enable a community business to support the delivery of a new payment-by-results contract.

Generally, the Support Fund will be made available to enterprises that already trade, or those seeking funding to help secure the purchase or restoration of a building which is listed as an Asset of Community Value.



The following are not eligible to apply for funding:

  • Private individuals.
  • Unincorporated trusts or associations.
  • Local authorities and other public sector bodies.
  • For-private-profit companies, unless in a partnership led by a charity or social enterprise, etc.
  • Churches or other places of worship, where the building will remain in use primarily as a place of religious worship.

Application Procedure

Applicants should initially contact the AHF Investment Team to discuss their application.

For further information, contact the Architectural Heritage Fund.

Addresses and contacts

Application forms may be available to download on their website.

Contact details:
Ian Rice
The Architectural Heritage Fund 
3 Spital Yard 
E1 6AQ
020 7925 0199