|The Corn Exchange, Belfast|
Built in 1851 and completely renovated in recent years, the Corn Exchange became a hub for several Ulster-Scots organisations last November and houses an exhibition area, shop and office space. The UHF has a broader focus than Ulster Scots, of course, and the move will make the Foundation's expertise and resources more accessible to the local community and to visitors to the city.
The Foundation plans to take over the first floor of the building. It's currently just a shell. The aim is to create a modern and user-friendly open-plan office layout, with public consultation areas, adequate storage space and private offices.
The plan doesn't come cheaply, though, and the UHF needs to raise £30,000 to achive all its objectives for the new premises. It has already secured pledges from third parties for £15,000 towards the total, but it is now asking for help to secure the remaining sum in match funding in order to draw down those pledges. It has, therefore, launched a 'Buy a Brick' campaign.
Each brick has a value of £25. The names of those who buy a brick will be added to a commemorative plaque to be erected in the new offices. In addition, the name will be added to the 'virtual' wall acknowledging donors on the UHF website.
The Foundation's Gillian Hunt told Irish Genealogy News that after more than five years in the current Malone Road premises, she's looking forward to being back in the city centre. "The Corn Exchange will be more convenient and more accessible for visitors," she says. "It's just across the bridge, about a 15-minute walk, from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland."