Profile of the Fort Amherst Heritage Trust.
The Fort Amherst Heritage Trust (FAHT) was formed in April 1998, as a charitable company limited by Guarantee (charity number 1102399, company number 4362306).
The Trust was the successor of the Fort Amherst & Lines Trust which was itself established as a charitable Trust in 1981. In April 2010 FAHT merged with Medway Historical Ordnance a separate Charity which had been established to preserve and maintain the Fort’s nationally important collection of historical ordnance. The amalgamation reduced costs and promoted efficiency and a stronger organisation in support of both Trusts objectives and aims.
FAHT inherited from FALT its principal objectives which are;
“Acquiring, restoring, maintaining, safeguarding and preserving the historical fortifications known as Fort Amherst and the Lines in the City of Rochester-Upon Medway and the Borough of Gillingham in the county of Kent and making the same available for research and for the educational and recreational viewing and use by the public.”
As a result of local government reorganisation the whole of Fort Amherst now lies within the boundaries of the Medway Unitary Authority which was established in 1997.
FAHT owns the freehold of almost the entire site of 20 acres with the exception of a narrow strip of land which is leased from Medway Council to allow for boundary management.
The site is a scheduled ancient monument having been designated in 1959 (1003364 known as Brompton Lines).
The Trust has seven current Trustees who each serve for a three-year period on rotation, when they must be reappointed at the Trust’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The FAHT operates on a committee based structure with a number of Limited Company Boards and sub committees who report to the main Trust Executive for strategic overview and accountability. In addition each Trustee has areas of delegated responsibility which they carry out and are required to present a written report to each Trust meeting, outlining their activities.
The Trust has an elected Chairman and Vice Chairman, appointed on a yearly basis at the AGM.
There are a small number of part time staff employed in the Fort`s café and visitor centre. The Trust also employ a part time Volunteer Supervisor and retain the services of a part time consultant on a self-employed basis to undertake the Marketing and PR function for the Trust.
For all other operations the FAHT is dependant on volunteers. There is a body of around 45 volunteers who perform a wide variety of functions in order to maintain and operate the Fort as a public amenity.
The volunteers are drawn from a wide spectrum of society of all ages and both genders.
There are also particular groups within the volunteer body such as a mental health service user groups and socially disadvantaged groups such as the disabled, unemployed and young offenders. The Trust has developed a culture of social responsibility and integration with the community in which it is located.
The majority of the Fort Amherst site is open to the public on a free to enter basis throughout the year. There are charges made for tours of the Tunnel Complex and specialist events and functions which operate throughout the year. The Fort forms part of a larger area of land known as the Great Lines Heritage Park, which includes the rest of the Chatham Lines Fortifications and the former field of fire for the Fort known as the Great Lines. These areas of land are owned by Medway Council, the Ministry of Defence and the Lower Lines Trust.