Luton’s Hat District to get share of £5million fund to bring disused historic buildings back to life

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“This is Luton’s time to celebrate past and present cultures through transforming our town centre”

Luton is to benefit from a share of a new £5 million fund empowering communities to breathe new life into their disused and at-risk historic buildings.

The grant will help the Culture Trust, Luton develop more dilapidated buildings in the Hat District and create a valuable range of new spaces for creative and community uses. Specifically, this funding will enable the re-animation of the Streetscape in Luton’s Hat District in partnership with the community, owners, partners, neighbours, artists and the creative Industries.

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The funding is being awarded as part of a new partnership between the National Lottery Heritage Fund and charity the Architectural Heritage Fund, to expand the Architectural Heritage Fund’s Heritage Development Trust model across the UK. It follows the success of a pilot programme which supported seven social enterprises and charities in England to repair, restore and reuse at-risk high street and town centre buildings in their local areas.

The Hat Factory has benefited from a Lottery grantThe Hat Factory has benefited from a Lottery grant
The Hat Factory has benefited from a Lottery grant

As one of 12 new Heritage Development Trusts, The Culture Trust, Luton will receive a package of funding to help it scale up its operations to acquire and redevelop a pipeline of local historic buildings. It can also apply for grants to support early project development, and will be given guidance from consultants and mentors to develop its skills and knowledge alongside peer-to-peer support to expand their reach and influence.

Marie Kirbyshaw, Chief Executive of the Culture Trust, Luton said: “This is Luton’s time to celebrate past and present cultures through transforming our town centre. We are thrilled to play our part in regenerating Luton’s former hat and industrial heritage buildings for cultural purposes. We are thankful to AHF and the Heritage Fund for seeing Luton’s Hat District potential and including us in this prestigious Heritage Development Trust national programme. We look forward to the next three years of partnership working, learning and achieving longlasting results in Luton”.

Robin Porter, Chief Executive of Luton Borough Council said: ‘Another good news story for Luton as we transform our town centre. The Hat District is a key programme in our 2040 plans and we will continue to partner with the Culture Trust in caring for and re-using our Heritage Assets’.

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