The Mechanics’ Institution Trust is a social enterprise which operates as a Building Preservation Trust and Development Trust.
In its heyday the Institution was more than the building itself; its reach into the community was extensive. The Medical Fund Society, Juvenile Fete, and branch reading rooms were a few examples of this impact.
This mirrors the Trust today. We are defined by more than this one building too with not only interests in wider heritage sites in the town but also the communities in which they stand.
As the only Building Preservation Trust in Swindon we have an important leadership role in highlighting and celebrating all of Swindon’s heritage. We seek to work in partnership with communities, voluntary organisations, business and statutory bodies to facilitate a greater recognition of the vital role heritage and culture can play in Swindon.
The Trust combines 2 types of organisation in one:
A Building Preservation Trust:
A building preservation trust (BPT) is a charity whose main aims include the preservation and regeneration of historic buildings.
The BPT structure has a number of advantages:
- It is a recognised form of charity, so it is easier to set up than an ad hoc charity
- They specialise in historic building regeneration, and the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) gives preference to BPT applications if its resources are under pressure
- They qualify for additional grants from the AHF
- They qualify for membership of the Association of Preservation Trusts
- They will have all the powers needed to rescue historic buildings
- They are established as limited companies, reducing risk to their trustees.
A Development Trust:
Development trusts are organisations which are:
- Engaged in the economic, environmental and social regeneration of a defined geographical area
- Independent, self-sufficient or aiming for self-sufficiency, and not for private profit
- Community based, owned and managed
- Actively involved in partnerships and alliances between the community, voluntary, private and public sectors
- They are community ‘anchor’ organisations, delivering services and facilities, finding solutions to local problems, and helping other organisations and initiatives succeed.
By bringing these two types of organisation together we feel that we have created the Mechanics’ Institution of the 21st Century.
The Trust is a Social Enterprise defined by linking people and place.
If you would like to support the Trust please register as a member here.