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  • Variety is the spice of life (Weekly blog, 23 October 2016)

    Posted on October 24, 2016
    A blog by Catherine Leonard, Secretary-General

    Another busy week with more training from Global Giving which is helping us to tell the story of our Sierra Leone/Uganda/Zimbabwe heritage education exchange project – the pressure is on as details need to be finalised by the end of next week.  (Gulp!)  Noémie and I went to a session at their offices in London on Friday which really helped crystalise things – and meant we could meet some of the other folks involved in the challenge.  It was interesting to hear about their organisations and projects although it has also made us realise that it is really a competition, which is a bit daunting … Earlier in the week, we did a webinar on networks which was particularly illuminating.   We all know more people than we think they do – six degrees of separation and all of that!

    Heritage Club Members, CCFU@2016

    Heritage Club Members, CCFU@2016


    The everyday life of running a charity meant more sessions on governance this week, including a teleconference call with working group members in the US, France and Hong Kong (that’s a tricky group to find a sociable time for everyone to call in, I can tell you!).  We are making steady progress on a new draft constitution, which we hope to finalise early next year.    I also had twenty questions from our insurers – they want to make sure we are adequately covered for all the activities we undertake.  The overseas nature of our work seems a difficult concept but I think we got there in the end.  Well, we’ll see when the renewal quote arrives next week …

    At the beginning of last week, we had the wonderful news that FAI, the Fondo Ambiente Italiano or Italian National Trust, had upgraded their INTO membership.   I’m very excited about them getting more involved as they have so much amazing experience to share – not least in their fabulous properties, their impressive outreach work and their engagement with young people (FAI has the most facebook likes of all our INTO members – a whopping 565,722!  The closest, as far as I can tell, is the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland with 544,502.)   It’s going to be great having them at the heart of the INTO family.

    Villa del Balbianello, FAI

    FAI’s Villa del Balbianello, Lake Como

    We’re also in discussions with the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust, whom some of you may remember as the hosts of the 1998 Conference.  I was flipping through the ICNT files recently and read a thank-you letter in which the then NTEWNI Director-General wrote “The work of your Conservation Trust is truly a blessing on crowded Puerto Rico and an inspiration to those of us who were lucky enough to attend the 8th International Conference of National Trusts.”  I think the Conservation Trust would inspire the current crop of National Trusts worldwide 18 years on and am really hoping they will also engage with the INTO family.

    The current Director-General of the NTEWNI is off to the States next week to spend time with INTO members the Trustees of Reservations and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  So good to see these relationships blooming after the Cambridge ICNT.

    Work on the INTBAU Conference continues (speakers, speeches, juror comments); I’ve been writing my presentation for the ‘Who owns the Monuments’ conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the National Trust of Slovakia (founded just three years before I began working for the NTEWNI, which is a surprising thought!); and on-going efforts to promote the work of INTO and our members (the photo competition; an outreach event at the NTEWNI offices; arranging talks by INTO members while they are visiting the UK; supporting Oliver with planning for COP22 in Marrakech, etc).


    Lastly, we received the near final version of the Barbados Heritage Tour from the travel agents this week.  This is an exciting new and unique offer for National Trust and INTO supporters to spend their holidays in Barbados, enjoying special behind the scenes access to the island’s amazing heritage sites and meeting some of the wonderful people involved in their preservation, whilst at the same time contributing to the work of INTO and the Barbados National Trust.   Everyone’s a winner!

    The Morgan Lewis Windmill (restored by the Barbados National Trust)

    Thanks for reading!

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