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Historic Dockyard Chatham secures £4.8m national lottery support as part of £8.2m project

17 October 2017

Historic Dockyard Chatham are delighted to announce that they have received the confirmed news on the National Lottery support of £4,812,000 for the Fitted Rigging House project. This follows an extensive project scoping and development phase*. The project will convert the Grade I Listed building into a resource that will unlock the future financial sustainability of the wider Historic Dockyard site.

Details on the building…

The Fitted Rigging House (1793, Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM), 9,000m2) is a huge, underutilised building, a drain on resources and increasingly at risk. CHDT’s new corporate plan identifies the urgent need to find a productive re-use.

What will this building be used for? 

This multi-faceted project will create new rental space within the building for commercial tenancy.  Alongside this, they intend to create a Volunteer Centre of Excellence within the building to greatly improve our facilities for volunteers on-site to include training and social spaces.  The project will also see the Dockyard’s excellent Library and Archive brought into more productive re-use with enhanced visitor access to this nationally important collection.

What it means for the Trust…

As part of the Trust’s strategy of “Preservation through re-use” this project will secure the long term financial sustainability of this building itself but also of the wider Historic Dockyard site through the rental incomes created by the development of the commercial tenancy spaces.  The project will cost a total of £8.2m and an additional £1.5m funding has been provided to support this project by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.  Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust is currently undertaking a fundraising programme to raise the remaining capital required.  Investment in this project effectively secures the £60m investment across the Historic Dockyard’s 80 acre site that has happened since the closure of the Royal Dockyard almost 33 years ago by funding the gap between self generated income and the costs of maintaining the site and providing other charitable services that currently exists.  This gap has been a threat to long term sustainability of The Historic Dockyard for many years.  In addition the ability to use the project to provide much better access to CHDT’s important archive and library, as well as create first rate volunteer facilities for our 300+ volunteers, is a major opportunity.

The project will build on the economic impact the Historic Dockyard site has made on the wider Medway area, currently estimated to be in the region of £16m per annum (Click for further information).

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Chatham Historic Dockyard is a National Lottery success story! We’re proud to be supporting its latest project – the redevelopment of the Fitted Rigging House – which takes our total investment in the Dockyard experience to nearly £30m.  This money is helping draw in more tourists, making a serious contribution to the local economy as well as providing jobs and training opportunities.”

John Glen, Minister for Heritage, said: “The famous Historic Dockyard is at the heart of Chatham and helps attract tourists to this beautiful part of Kent. Thanks to National Lottery players this £4.8 million investment will preserve this important maritime heritage site, bring a huge range of benefits for local businesses and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in volunteering.”

Bill Ferris OBE, DL, Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund have awarded a Stage 2 funding from the Heritage Enterprise programme to this critical project that is a real investment in the long term future sustainability of the whole estate and our regeneration, education and preservation work.  Our long-term partners at the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have also been highly supportive in this drive to independent sustainability, something they see as a model for other heritage and cultural estates where the productive use of heritage assets can support cultural, museum, education and preservation efforts.  The announcement of this funding will allow the project to proceed from October 2018 with the aim for completion by December 2018.

We are extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their continued support of The Historic Dockyard Chatham”.

* £11,000 development funding was awarded in 2016 to support the project to prepare for the Heritage Lottery Fund Stage 2 application process.

Source: The Historic Dockyard Chatham, 10 October 2017

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