The Fort Amherst Heritage Trust (FAHT) was formed in April 1998. Our principal objectives 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 which is a scheduled ancient monument having been designated in 1959.
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).
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.
For all other operations the FAHT is dependent on volunteers. There is a body of around 50 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.
The work that FAHT undertakes preserves the Fort as a free to enter public space for the benefits of the residents and visitors to the Medway Towns. Without the volunteer trustees and our general volunteers the income we receive would not be sufficient to maintain the site, meaning another important part of Britain's heritage would be lost.
Your help matters to us more now than ever before. Having just been successful in obtaining a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to support a programme called Command of the Heights, we are now looking to strengthen our board of trustees and our wider volunteer population.
We maintain for free public access over 11 acres of open space in the heart of the Medway towns. We provide volunteering opportunities to local residents, and actively welcome such applications from those areas of society that are disadvantaged. We have a long history of working with the youth teams in the Medway as well as mental health and long term unemployed charities. We currently rely on internally generated income to cover our running costs and repairs and maintenance to the site.