This week, I had the pleasure of attending the Fit for the Future Network Harvest. FFTF is a coalition of organisations working together to be more climate-friendly, adaptive and resilient.
I have long thought that there were things INTO could learn from FFTF and Wednesday showed that to be true.
In terms of membership, the two networks are a similar size. FFTF has 81 member organisations; INTO has 76. They are both supported by the National Trust (England, Wales and Northern Ireland). And sharing knowledge and experience is the central to both. FFTF “operates on the principle that, more often than not, the solution is already out there”.
FFTF offers similar sorts of membership services: from practical support like shared resources, and tailored link ups to events like workshops, site visits and webinars. It also gives its members the opportunity to showcase their projects and work …. All sounds very familiar.
What I enjoyed about the Network Harvest was hearing from different sorts of organisation. FFTF’s sustainability focus means that not all its members are directly involved in heritage or nature protection. So I heard really interesting presentations from Newcastle Hospital, Cancer Research UK and the Contact Theatre in Manchester, amongst others. All with some innovations solutions to reducing waste and emissions.
As a network nerd however, what I found most interesting was the management of the event and the organisation itself. I’ve been looking at their Impact Report for inspiration for our own 10 year anniversary. It’s a simple and impressive – and probably belies the record keeping and effort needed to create such a document!
I also liked Chairman, Sir Ed Davy’s speech about the future of the network. Not only did he claim that this was the best ‘fit for the future’ event of the day (a day when he was due in the House of Commons for the Budget … !). But also, he got me thinking about INTO when he outlined four challenges ahead of FFTF:
Firstly, widening the scope of the network’s activities.
Secondly, improving core resource to make networking easier – probably an IT solution. This is something we’ve been thinking about in the context of the new Business Plan.
Thirdly, more peer consultancies. An interesting model for INTO?
And lastly, more partnerships and collaborations. Indeed Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, went on to announce that HLF will be encouraging their grantees to become part of Fit for the Future!
She said: “We absolutely support the Fit for the Future principle that, more often than not, the solution is already out there when it comes to making buildings, land and whole organisations more sustainable. We will therefore be encouraging grantees, new and old, to become part of the network so that they can learn from others and in time share their own stories so that together we continue to develop good practice in this field.”
Consequently, there really did feel like some areas of learning and sharing between the two networks! One are where we already collaborate is the COP and Keith Jones, Co-Founder of the Fit for the Future Network, was with the INTO team in Bonn earlier this month. He wrote this summary.
At the reception that followed the conference, FFTF launched their Ambassadors programme. Funnily enough, we have put together our own ‘INTO Ambassadors’ group as part of the new Business Plan … great minds think alike …
I’m sure there are other ideas we can ‘harvest’ (borrow/steal with pride!). I’m looking forward to finding out more about plans for the FFTF website, which uses WordPress like ours. Particularly how they are going to facilitate more networking.