A campaign to fund community-led urban regeneration projects was launched this week by the Architectural Heritage Fund, with backing from the Prince of Wales and arts minister Baroness Blackstone.
The 25-year-old charitable trust provides low-interest loans or grants for up to 30 volunteer-led projects a year. It specialises in providing start-up funding and advice to community groups to revive and convert listed buildings that are at risk of becoming derelict.

"We do the things that other funding organisations like the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage don't do," said Jonathan Thompson, director of the fund.

The projects favoured by the fund are conversions of historic buildings for community use that also act as catalysts for wider urban regeneration.

The derelict 18th-century St Andrew's church in Glasgow was converted into a music centre with a £475,000 loan from the fund, and that in turn helped to unlock another £54m for regenerating the surrounding area.

Thompson said greater funding from English Heritage and agencies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would enable it to increase the number of projects it could support.

  • English Heritage has blamed local authorities for poor management of the listed buildings that they own. The latest edition of EH's Building at Risk register contains 36 additions to the roll of council-owned buildings, but only 16 deletions.