I’ve been finalising the 2016 INTO Annual Review this week. Just waiting for the figures from our Accountant now and then we’re good to go. Having this week also drafted a long speech for World Heritage Day however, my creative juices are running dry. It’s cheating but I’m lost for words, so am giving you a preview of my 2016 Secretary-General’s Report …
“One of the highlights of 2016 has been working with groups in Georgia, Lebanon and Thailand thinking of setting up a National Trust. INTO is the leading authority on the work and philosophy of National Trusts around the world. One of our founding objectives is to help communities set up Trusts in countries where they do not currently exist. So this sort of thing is right up our street.
It is not however an exact science. We are preparing an ‘INTO Handbook for Heritage Trusts’ for launch at the conference, but every Trust is different, taking into account local situations. One thing they do have in common is a desire and mandate to involve people in the preservation, protection and promotion of heritage for the benefit of future generations. I have been involved with many nascent Trusts over the years from Bali to St Helena and it has been hugely rewarding.
In 2016 our Membership survey showed that the most important factors influencing the decision to join INTO were: to exchange ideas and knowledge; to learn from other Trusts ways of working and to be part of the global family of National Trusts.
100% of those who responded said they would recommend INTO membership to another Trust or organisation not currently part of the network, which is a fantastic vote of confidence! It was great to hear how highly our members rate the possibility of sharing experience, information and best practice. And that our Family, Growth and Voice strategies are hitting the mark.
It was also interesting to learn that whilst membership generally met or exceeded expectations, there is still more we can do. We hope that our plans for a new international mentoring/exchange programme in 2017 will help deliver on this desire for capacity building and we continue to develop new ways to encourage exchange and learning.
Growing the INTO Secretariat was also a priority in 2016. We all know that volunteers help our organisations connect with the communities they serve. The same is true of INTO. And we are particularly passionate about helping young people around the world engage with heritage.
There are benefits to everyone from this. Firstly, they bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to current projects. Moreover, in the years ahead they will be the ones looking after special places and passing them on to future generations. Finally, for the young people, volunteering brings opportunities to develop new skills, interests and aspirations, to connect with wider communities of interest and to have fun!
This year, we had the pleasure of working with volunteers/interns Louisa Abbott, Jorge Vicente Diaz from Tesouros de Galicia, Putri Sasongko from BPPI and Noémie Caillat. I’m incredibly grateful to each of them.
We also thank our member organisations, supporters and volunteers. Particularly our Trustees, Executive Committee, Amicus and all our Secretariat volunteers. Without you, our achievements this year would not have been possible.
I hope we will see many of you at the 17th International Conference of National Trusts in September so that we can show our gratitude in person!”
In the rest of the Review, I talk about the many other highlights – which I’ve also mentioned in this blog. Like attending the opening of the Czech National Trust‘s FIRST property. Speaking at the SECOND Caribbean Conference of National Trusts. (Details of the 3rd Conference have just been announced.) Our THREE new member organisations who joined this year. (Nationale Monumentenorganisatie in the Netherlands, the Sierra Leone Monuments and Relics Commission and Fundació Catalunya – La Pedrera.) FOUR side events at COP 22. FIVE years of INTO Working Holidays … all the way to the 20th anniversary of the National Trust of Slovakia; 50 years of REMPART, 125 years of the Trustees of Reservations, and finally raising £2,947 towards our ‘Encourage African Youth‘ Project … (Phew. Who’s counting?!) All in all, it was a great year.
Thank you for walking alongside us!