Harlesden refugee charity given £100k cash boost by AHF to transform former bank
PUBLISHED: 16:10 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:57 16 July 2020
A Harlesden charity has been awarded more than £100,000 to renovate a former high street bank for use by refugee children.
The Refugee Support Network (RSN) has received £105,574 from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) to revitalise the Victorian building in the High Street.
The cash is from AHF’s national Transforming Places Through Heritage grants programme.
RSN bought 60-62 High Street to provide a national headquarters.
The grant will allow it to extend the support it provides to refugee and asylum-seeking children needing to engage with the UK education system.
Catherine Gladwell, chief exec of RSN, said they were “delighted” with the grant.
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“The young refugees we work with tell us that education is the key to unlocking their futures and this grant along with funding from Brent Council and others will help us to create an education centre for young refugees right in the centre of Harlesden,” she said.
“The building will also function as a social impact hub, providing group work and activity space for other local initiatives, and co-working space for charities and social enterprises.
“Refugee Support Network started out as a small, volunteer-led local project almost ten years ago and, as we’ve grown to become a national charity, we’re proud to remain rooted in the Harlesden community we love.”
AHF’s grant will pay for internal renovations, including partial removal of the bank vaults, attic conversion, new heating, ventilation, lighting and insulation, a new lift, floor levelling, installation of a new mezzanine floor and stairs, and new kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Dawn Butler MP said the grant was “fantastic news” for a “fantastic charity”.
“It has been my pleasure to support and work with them to open up a social impact hub in the heart of Harlesden,” she said. “These funds bring us one big step closer to that goal.”
Matthew Mckeague, AHF chief, said: “The AHF grants empower and finance those charities and social enterprises that are stepping up to facilitate change in their high streets and town centres by redesigning and diversifying the use of historic buildings, encouraging a brighter future for the towns of which they form a part.”
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