The covid-19 pandemic came at an unfortunate time for the Archbishop’s Palace Conservation Trust. Both the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England put their funding programmes on hold until the end of 2020 and the programme for solicit funding from companies and individuals in the Darent Valley area came to abrupt halt as these companies focused their attention on moving their business processes online. The emergency grant funding, was only available for organisations already in receipt of their funding and so we did not qualify. Similarly, we did not qualify for the Small Business Grant from central government or for the emergency grants from the Arts Council.
Fortunately, by limiting expenditure to basic housekeeping and maintenance only, the Trust entered the lock-down period with (just) sufficient funds to continue for about 12 months. We rely completely on volunteers and have no paid staff. However, we still have to pay for water and electricity, and for basic maintenance such as cutting the grass and hedges. We have to bridge the gap until we have secured funding from the major grant-giving organisations such as the National Lottery and Historic England which will take until late 2021. There is a real risk that, without emergency funding the Trust will have to be wound up and our plans for this iconic building will be lost, the lease surrendered to SDC and alternative arrangements made for its future – perhaps conversion for holiday homes which was one of their alternatives
We are appealing to the local community in Otford and the Darent Valley to raise £15,000 emergency funding so that the Trust can continue to operate and prepare for the next phase of the project in which we will start work on the actual restoration of the buildings.
We seek your help and invite you to join us in this local legacy project. We would be most grateful for any financial contributions. Recognition will be advertised on our website and as we progress, those that have enabled us to overcome the current difficulty will be recorded as certified founder sponsors.
You can donate through Virgin MoneyGiving by going to: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charities/otfordpalace
We need your help and would be most grateful for any and all contributions. Thank you.
Please contact Nick Rushby secretary to the Trust for any further information.