Falkirk THI June 2014
We are now just over half way through the first year of the Falkirk Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) Project and so far things are going well. For those of you who don’t know Falkirk THI is a grant-giving programme that helps communities’ regenerate Conservation Areas displaying particular social or economic need. The scheme was introduced by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), but typically involves a number of funders contributing to a ‘Common Fund’, from which grants are given to local property owners, businesses and organisations to allow them to carry out repairs and other works to historic properties and spaces within the THI Area. Falkirk THI is jointly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Historic Scotland, Falkirk Council and Falkirk BID. Between 2013 -2018 we plan to invest £5.5 million in the town centre.
Alongside the physical regeneration work, Falkirk THI will be implementing a ‘Community Engagement’ programme. This will bring local history to life and enable people of all ages to learn more about Falkirk’s rich heritage. Training and job opportunities linked to the conservation of traditional buildings and historic environments will also be available.
We held our launch event in March which was a great success. It was designed to inform the local community about the aims of the THI and give them a taste of Falkirk’s past through a display of old photographs and films. Attended by around 500 people, it was a great opportunity for the THI Team to engage with members of the public and explain the opportunities available to business owners, organisations and individuals. We had two traditional craft demonstrations by Stone Mason Gardner Molloy and Sign Writer Frank Carty which gained a lot of interest.
Susie Dibden, THI Project Officer, helped organise Falkirk Apprenticeship Day on Friday 23rd May. This event gained a lot of interest locally and via Twitter. Pupils from local schools interested in apprenticeships were invited to come along and try their hand at different traditional building skills, and locals had a chance to find out more about local apprenticeship schemes and opportunities available through the THI.
Julia Branch, THI Heritage Engagement Officer, has been working on projects relating to Falkirk Town Steeple. This year is the 200th anniversary of Falkirk’s current Town Steeple and events are being planned to celebrate this in September. Linked to this Julia has been working with artist Susheila Jamieson and four local schools on ‘Picturing Our Steeple’ project. Pupils have been exploring the history of the steeple through art and you can find out more about the project via the project blog (https://ourfalkirksteeple.wordpress.com/). A Steeple Education Pack has also been produced for Primary Schools, which is available to download via the THI website (https://falkirkthi.com/get-involved/falkirksteeplelearningpack/).
Susie has made some progress on moving forward the priority projects in the THI area and we have had a huge interest in the THI grant scheme. To date we have had almost 40 applications for the ‘Small Grants’ programme. The closing date for 2014 grant applications has now passed (31st May 2014) and the THI team are currently accessing all applications together to ensure that the available funding is distributed in a fair and transparent way. The maximum grant available for each project will be determined by the priority category assigned to the property and the nature of the works.
If you would like to find out more about the work of the THI, events and projects then please visit our website www.falkirkthi.com. You can also find us on Facebook Falkirk THI and Twitter @FalkirkTHI.
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