Last Thursday we held one of our quarterly Board and Secretariat teleconferences. It’s a bit lazy but I’m going to use my Secretariat Report as the basis for this blog because I’m fresh out of ideas! (However, it is good to recycle … !)
My report is an opportunity to update the Board on what the Secretariat has achieved/progressed against the INTO strategy. The strategy is themed around: Family; Growth; Voice and Strength.
I think of ‘family’ as what we do to support our members in the achievement of their goals by providing opportunities to collaborate and share ideas, resources, skills and knowledge; and developing a global heritage offer that celebrates what is unique and special about the National Trust approach.
We talked about the 2017 International Conference of National Trusts and the great progress that is being made by the team in Indonesia.
The Secretariat team reported that the INTO Working Holidays continue to be very popular. The second tranche of holidays for 2017 was uploaded at the end of March. And four holidays from the Ruan Yisan Heritage Foundation are now also on the INTO website.
A pilot exchange between National Trust Wales and La Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera will take place later this month. This builds on the success of a recent bilateral exchange between the National Trusts of Canada and Australia.
We are also always looking for opportunities for virtual connection however. So we will launch our new webinar programme with a discussion about volunteering on Friday 9th June.
The overall goal of this webinar is to benchmark volunteer contribution across the INTO network (what percentage of workforce is voluntary; how are volunteers recruited and trained; do members have the volunteers they need or are they planning to grow; do they have a long-term strategy; common problems; offers of solutions). More information to follow!
This is about building global capacity for heritage conservation by nurturing National Trusts – new and existing – and growing the movement.
The next tranche of INTO’s Small Grants Programme is now open! The deadline for applications is 31 July 2017. We have resisted the urge to completely overhaul the programme. This will now happen after a charrette discussion with INTO members at ICNT.
In addition, our new Mentoring pilot will be ready to launch in early June. Watch this space for more information!
Together with June Taboroff, the Secretariat team is making steady inroads on the INTO Handbook. It is entitled “From Start Up to Sustainability: An INTO Handbook for Heritage Trusts”. We hope it will be a valuable resource for all members – old and new, big and small, wherever they are in the world.
Oliver Maurice reported on his interesting recent visit to Thailand, where a group is hoping to establish a National Trust. We also had one new membership application from the Austrian organisation, Bodenfreiheit – Verein zur Erhaltung von Freiraeumen.
Under voice, we think of speaking out with authority and purpose on global conservation issues critical to INTO’s membership; celebrating what is unique and special about the NT approach; and supporting our members with their influencing campaigns.
World Heritage Day on 18 April 2017 featured highly in this section. You’ll remember that we launched a new resource, ‘Trust Kids!’, a list of 25 things young people can do to explore, celebrate, preserve and share their cultural heritage. And in her annual World Heritage Day Lecture, Fiona firstly warned that our intangible cultural heritage is under threat. And secondly underlined what we must do all we can to encourage the next generation to protect, promote and pass it on.
We discussed involvement in COP 23, taking place in Bonn in November. The Board agreed to send a small delegation and to focus our message on National Trust experience.
I updated the Board on our partnerships, including a meeting with Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary-General of Europa Nostra at Wimpole in April. Sneška is keen to re-enliven the Global Heritage Forum and furthermore, to encourage support for 2018’s European Cultural Heritage Year.
Oliver also attended an event in Manchester, ‘We need to talk about Climate Change’. It considered how the heritage sector is communicating climate change to the public. Our involvement came out of INTO’s collaboration with Sara Penrhyn Jones on her Troubled Waters film.
Finally, at the meeting, we went on to discuss Saint Lucia’s current challenges. I alluded to this situation in a recent blog. The situation has however worsened and the Saint Lucia National Trust really needs our help and solidarity.
Strength is about build financial stability and demonstrating best practice in our governance and organisational culture.
The Secretariat is involved in the INTO Governance Review and we will be updating all our members about this very soon. We agreed the draft text of the 2016 Annual Report, minus the financial statements while we wait for our Accountant Bob to recover from a knee operation!
The voluntary Secretariat team continues to work hard to support the goals and mandate of INTO, now supported by a part-time (paid) administrator.
Becoming more financially sustainable is a condition of our current increased support from the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Thus, we have been exploring possible sources of external funding and held a brainstorming on 4 April. The new funding also allows me to work 4 days a week, which I started in March. We remain enormously grateful to the Trust for this additional assistance.
The INTO Africa team met by teleconference last week to discuss next steps in the ‘Encouraging African Youth to Embrace their Heritage’ project, starting with the video clip competition. All very exciting.
Lastly, my Secretariat Report goes on to list all the countries we have had particular contact with over the period and other collaborative and outreach work. But this blog is getting too long now! If you’d like to see a copy of the whole report, drop me a line …
Thanks for reading!