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EH_Angels-logoThe English Heritage Angel Awards 2014 is open for applicants until June 1st 2014. The award is part of English Heritage’s National Heritage Protection Plan to ‘celebrate the efforts of local people’ in their endeavours to breathe new life into our heritage. Click here for more information.

Historic buildings are part of the wider urban environment and form our collective memories. Have you walked by a derelict building in your local area and wondered why it wasn’t been put to good use? Would you miss it if it wasn’t there? The imaginative re-use of heritage buildings is not only for their owners, the local authority, or ‘experts’ to determine: there is a wide range of support out there for local community groups to get together to save our historic built environment.

English Heritage’s publication ‘Heritage at Risk 2013 National Summary Leaflet’ states, ‘…only 15% of buildings or structures…are thought to be economic to repair, indicating the scale of public subsidy required’. (Click here for the full leaflet). Whilst this refers only to buildings pertaining to its ‘Heritage at Risk’ list it is clear the philanthropic interest of local groups is extremely important, if not essential, to the saving and re-use of some of our locally iconic buildings.

If you have a group, but no building to save – there is a list of possible local targets – click here for more details. The Prince’s Regeneration Trust advises groups and local authorities alike to facilitate the survival of historic buildings.

If you have a building but no group – there is support from various quarters from the first steps through to finding funding and forming a team to execute the works. A good place to start is SAVE Britain’s Heritage and the United Kingdom Association of Building Preservation Trusts (APT).

If you are a seasoned building-saver – there is support to form a wider interest group such as ‘multi-projects’ trusts – for more information on this type visit the APT website here.

Commendable examples of projects currently in action include the Ancoats Dispensary Trust and the Roe-naissance Project. Social media undoubtedly plays its part: Twitter and Facebook are great conduits to bring like-minded people together for a common purpose.

When the Angels are announced their stories and achievements will be an inspiration to others who don’t want to imagine a future without key local heritage buildings.