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  • New Year catch-up (Weekly blog, 16 January 2017)

    Posted on January 16, 2017
    A blog by Catherine Leonard, INTO Secretary-General

    I’ve got out of the habit of writing my blog over the Christmas/New Year break so this is just a quick summary of what’s been going on.   In the run up to Christmas we were all very involved in the final stages of the INTO Africa GlobalGiving campaign to raise funds to support a heritage education project being run by INTO members in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

    I’m delighted to report that we made the GlobalGiving target (although slightly short of the overall project goal, if you’d like to share the link with any other friends …) and have become a partner!

    I’m still working out what this actually means – but in essence: lots of potential opportunity for small crowdfunding campaigns for INTO members’ projects.   (There is a bit more information on their Welcome Webinar and the attached slides.)   We have all learned a lot along the way and I’m putting together a separate blog on this (you wait ages for a bus and then two come along at once … !).   And thanks again to all of you who donated.   I’d love to know what you think we should focus our next campaign on.

    The year started with final preparations for the visit by a team from FAI to the UK.  With backgrounds in visitor experience, property management and fundraising, our FAI colleagues were keen to learn as much as possible from their NTENWI counterparts here and we put together a programme combining meetings with the central office team and visits to properties to see these all in action.

    One of the things they were most interested in was the NTEWNI’s General Manager framework, which devolves a lot of decision making to property level and ensures the right mix of business and financial planning, leading and engaging people, creating great visitor experience and conservation performance.

    And I know from the visit of Jeremy Harris, Director of the Saint Helena National Trust only days beforehand that leadership skills were something he was also keen to develop.  (This link should take you to the NTEWNI General Manager Academy, if this is something you’re also interested in.)

    Jeremy gave a fascinating presentation about St Helena to NTEWNI staff at Heelis based on their new video which can be found on their homepage.  Beautiful – and thanks for the shout out to INTO!  After 15 years, the Trust now has 22 staff and although established by government has carved a niche for itself as a very successful community conservation organisation.   Projects for this year include working with the US Rainforest Trust to buy up some large land parcels in the cloud forest habitat – and at the same time having a putsch on built heritage.  Exciting times!

    On Thursday, we had our festive Winter Drinks reception at the INTO HQ in Grosvenor Gardens to which we had invited INTO donors, friends (including our wonderful Amicus supporters), contacts and volunteers.  I love the German phrase for wishing someone a happy new year, “Guten Rutsch” – literally a good slide.  We were certainly all slipping and sliding around a bit in the snow that evening (and that was before attacking the delicious Waddesdon Wine!) but the weather didn’t deter a jovial crowd from gathering and hearing Fiona’s recap on the successes of 2016 and forward look to 2017.   Last year was great.  This year is going to be even better!

    Thanks for reading!

    PS – I then spent the weekend in Rome with our children and was reminded of many things – the joy of exploring places you’ve only read or heard about before; how being able to touch a monument created over 2000 years ago brings history to life in unexpected ways; the excitement of new tastes, smells and sounds.  I haven’t properly mooched around Rome since I was an au pair in Italy nearly 30 years and it was wonderful, if slightly bewildering, to share it with them.

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