Grand Bequest aims to make it easier for people who are concerned about a building to join together, crowdfund, buy and restore it.
image: Edinburgh Live website (Tom Parnell / Flickr / Creative Commons)
Edinburgh Live writes:
A pioneering new historical property website and app that aims to help preserve Edinburgh’s heritage could be the key to removing scores of historic buildings from the Buildings At Risk Register (BARR).
Grand Bequest is a new social platform for ‘heritage rehabilitation’ that: ‘help homeowners and city councils overcome all the financial and operational obstacles of restoring historical real estate to its former glory.
“Whether you are an owner, a concerned community member or someone that simply loves old buildings, with the Grand Bequest app, now you can help save historical properties, create jobs, and give these buildings a new lease on life for future generations.”
A quick scan of Historic Scotland’s Buildings At Risk register shows that time is running out to save some of Edinburgh’s most magnificent buildings, as well as many hidden and quirky gems.
Even grand and iconic landmarks such as the Royal High School – a 19th-century neoclassical triumph on Calton Hill – are currently at risk.
Speaking to Edinburgh Live, Grand Bequest’s founder Dr. Katherine Gunderson – who lives in Edinburgh – said:
“No one should have to continue to watch the beautiful old buildings in their community be demolished or destroyed due to the lack of care or resources.
“In 2003, a Scottish laird was fined just £1000 for illegally bulldozing a listed castle on his estate, and there remains a very real and present risk to similar buildings today. There are so many different stakeholders in the heritage sector, so many groups out there doing great work, but with so many charities, trusts and individual groups it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Without easy sharing of information between these disparate stakeholders – including the sharing of successes, and hurdles they’ve overcome – things aren’t progressing quickly enough to save many of these buildings.
“We want to pull everything together. Historic Environment Scotland have done a fantastic job by starting the BARR but we need to keep it moving forward.
“We’re trying to scale up the process and trying to understand what the obstacles are – so we can identify them and overcome them – and fix more buildings faster. We’re aiming to incorporate sustainability, innovation and climate change initiatives into everything we do as well.
“Grand Bequest is the perfect platform for community groups who are upset about the condition of a building, and who want to organise, fundraise and buy it back. Of course, this kind of community activism is already underway, but saving historical properties can often be complex, expensive, overwhelming, and marred with regulations.
“It’s also a platform for homeowners or the council or the preservation trust that owns the building to help them through that whole, complex rehabilitation process.
“Our members will get loads of help with everything from getting people to get excited about saving a building, to providing the platform that will help bring the plan to fruition.”
To access Grand Bequest, download the Grand Bequest app on the Google or Apple Store and provide a few details on your project. You can also use the app to check out and support other projects.