Heritage trust lays foundations with senior appointments

Historic Coventry Trust trustee Balvinder Sangha with Carol Pyrah and Graham Tait

Heritage charity Historic Coventry Trust has laid the foundations to deliver its £30m programme with the appointment of its first two paid staff.

Carol Pyrah, a former regional director of English Heritage, has joined as executive director, and Graham Tait, who was a specialist heritage officer at Coventry City Council, is assistant director.

They have been tasked with building the organisation into a self-financing heritage development trust for the city.

The Trust began in 2011 as a volunteer organisation to restore the Charterhouse. The charity now plans to take ownership of 22 buildings in the city.

Construction is due to start on the £8m Charterhouse project in September, in readiness for Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture in 2021, and the Trust has recently secured £2m to regenerate The Burges area of the city.

Pyrah said: “Historic Coventry Trust is a ground-breaking organisation that is fast-gaining a national reputation for its innovative approach to heritage and regeneration and its unique partnership with the local authority.

“I’ve been aware of the Trust for a number of years – its work is important not just for Coventry, but also as a new model for the rest of the country. We’ve already been asked to
advise other cities on how they can do something similar.”

Pyrah has been joined by Tait, an archaeologist who is completing an MA in Conservation of the Historic Environment at Birmingham City University.

He added: “This is a really exciting time to make things happen in this great city. We will be working to find new uses for much-loved historic buildings that will secure them for
generations to come.”

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