International day of Charity
On International Day of Charity (5th September), we want to take the opportunity to share our story as a charity and how the Charity Sector can impact its local economy. As a registered charity, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust has been operating for over 35 years with two core charitable objectives:
- Preservation of the Historic Dockyard’s 80-acre historic site including 47 Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Listed Buildings, forming the most complete dockyard of the age of sail in the world and
- Education – related to the significance of the Royal Dockyard at Chatham and its association with the Royal Navy.
Over the past 35 years, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust has embarked on an incredible journey to create a self-sustaining heritage estate that balances a visitor attraction alongside a commercial business estate (encompassing over 100 businesses), a residential estate made up of 105 homes and, most recently, a centre for study utilised by the University of Kent where over 800 students study each year. This has been achieved through a strategy of “Preservation through reuse” which has seen the Trust invest in several key buildings across the site to unlock a sustainable outcome, either financial or charitable. This investment has been made possible through the generosity of a number of key strategic funders including the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Arts Council England and a range of other Charitable Trusts and Foundations that have collectively invested over £70m into the site over the past 35 years.
Last year, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust officially opened its latest project, The Fitted Rigging House – an 8,000m2 Grade I listed building that has been transformed from an underutilised asset into a business hub that has generated significant sustainable income for the Trust. Several businesses have chosen to relocate to the Historic Dockyard including Dovetail Games, Ward Security and Chapman BDSP to mention only a few.
The Fitted Rigging House has not only unlocked the Dockyard’s financial sustainability on a revenue level but increased the impact the site has to the wider local economy. An independent study has highlighted that the impact now provided through the businesses located at the Historic Dockyard alongside the tourism impacts is now estimated to be £29m per annum. This is a tremendous achievement and clearly demonstrates the impact the role the charity sector can play in wider economic regeneration and supporting local economies.
There is a role that every individual purchasing a ticket to the Historic Dockyard can play in this wider impact as well. By purchasing a ticket, as well as supporting the Trust to meet its charitable objectives, this leads to a contribution of £2.6 million to the economy each year.
This significant study shows that the impact to the local economy has grown 64% increase since the last study in 2012. It also reports that £388,000 was spent on good and services per year directly benefitting the local economy.
Paul Barnard, Director of Communications and Development (Assistant Chief Executive) says “As a charity we are driven by our twin objectives of preservation and education but since our formation in 1984 we have also been committed to playing an active role in the regeneration of Medway, through our strategy of re-using historic buildings for productive purposes and developing a vibrant tourism destination. This latest announcement clearly demonstrates the active role we are playing in the wider regeneration of Medway and the significant role the charitable sector can play in local economic impact”.
This is just one of many examples that shows the Charity sector can have an economic impact and help with wider local regeneration. Working closely with Medway Council, the Historic Dockyard is highly supportive of the bid for Medway to become City of Culture in 2025 and to making Medway a tourist destination.
Cllr Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council, said: “We have a fantastic relationship with the Dockyard and we are pleased to work alongside them on a number of projects. The Historic Dockyard Chatham has been transformed since its closure in 1984 and is now home to modern residential developments, retail, office and commercial spaces alongside a university campus. Medway’s monumental regeneration programme, which will provide growth for all, is beginning to take shape and Medway is fast becoming known as the economic powerhouse for the South-East. Medway’s economy is continuing to grow and is now worth £5.17bn and the area’s aspiration to become the UK City of Culture 2025 will further boost the economy and benefit residents. Around 5 million people visit Medway each year and the Dockyard is a prime example of Medway’s rich cultural heritage. We look forward to working with the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust in the future.”