Published: October 19, 2015
Region: North West
Unity Trust Bank have just delivered a £1.5m refinance package to the Heritage Trust for the North West. These funds will continue to protect and conserve many of key cultural heritage sites. The trust covers Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and Cumbria.
The Trust has saved many well-loved local heritage sites from demolition and disrepair, such as Lytham Hall, Pendle Heritage Centre and Higherford Mill, which now also serves as office space for those working in the creative industries. Through finding appropriate uses for the buildings the Trust secures visitor access, continued conversion of workspaces, and other community benefits for the sites.
Initially established to focus on restoration, The Trust now develops projects across the region. It has formed two trading companies that generate funds for the charity. One is a building and repairs company, and the second is a catering and retail service. Both operate in various Trust sites as well as within the wider community.
John Miller is the Chief Executive of Heritage Trust for the North West. He said of the financial decision to refinance its mortgages: “The refinance enables our short-term lending from the Architectural Heritage Fund to be paid off. These have been converted into long-term loans with Unity Trust Bank. This gives the Trust greater flexibility in terms of rental incomes and mortgage payments on our buildings.
“We came to Unity following a recommendation from the Co-operative Bank. I’ve been truly impressed by the support we’ve received from the bank, and particularly from our relationship manager, Margaret. We’re the only Trust in the area dedicated to preserving and conserving wonderful cultural heritage sites that can become real assets for local communities. We hope we can implement the sustainable re-use of many more historical buildings in the future.”
As well as restoring buildings and running visitor centres, Heritage Trust for the North West restores housing and converts rented workspace. It also manages holiday lets and curates museum displays. The trust is headquartered at Grade II listed Higherford Mill in Barrowford near Nelson. They use a building that they saved from demolition a decade ago.