Ramsgate-based Heritage Lab CIC has become one of seven organisations in the UK to be awarded a Heritage Development Trust pilot grant.
The funds are for use to regenerate historic buildings in Ramsgate.
The two-year grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) forms part of a national programme to help the transformation of high streets and town centres in England by supporting charities and social enterprises to develop sustainable new uses for redundant or underused historic buildings.
The £60,000 grant will help the company acquire sites and apply for further funding.
Heritage Lab Chief Executive Officer Rob Kenyon said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been awarded this grant, which will give us the ability to focus on delivering our projects more quickly.
“One of the strengths of our bid was the level of support both from the local community and our regional and national partners, so we’re looking forward to working with them all to help us to make a difference to the lives of the local community in Ramsgate.”
Matthew McKeague, Chief Executive at the Architectural Heritage Fund, recently visited the area and said: “Ramsgate has such a staggering number and diversity of historic buildings. The aim of this pilot grant is to enable Heritage Lab to lead heritage-based regeneration projects and, in partnership with the community, to make full use of these assets. The funding will help them make a step-change in their activities, support their long-term sustainability, and create a meaningful legacy for the town.”
The grant comes alongside of a number of major investment projects happening in the area including the Royal Sands, Old Gas works and Old Police Station developments.
Gavin Cleary, Chief Executive at Locate in Kent, said: “Ramsgate is rapidly becoming a major development area for tourism and the creative sectors with many multimillion pound housing, retail and leisure projects underway and over £3 million secured from the government’s, Future High Streets Fund and High Street Heritage Action Zone.
“As the inward investment agency for Kent and Medway we clearly recognise the long term opportunity in Ramsgate. We supported Heritage Lab from its inception to undertake research to help boost investment in the area, so this is a brilliant time to support Ramsgate’s rich heritage to boost regeneration on and around the high street.”
Heritage lab will announce new projects later this year and local businesses or individuals who want to get involved can sign up at heritagelab.org.uk/join to find out more.
The organisation had planned a project at Pugin’s Grade II listed Granville Hotel in Ramsgate to create refurbished spaces for exhibitions, community events and conferences. But this was put on hold last October as grants dried up during the pandemic.
Heritage Lab had a legal agreement with the owner to buy the 999-year leasehold to the seafront Granville Bars. It had a year to raise the £485,000 needed to complete the deal but time ran out.
The original hotel bedrooms have long been converted for private residential use and did not form part of the project.