After a relaxing Easter break, it’s been full steam ahead this week! Back at my desk on Tuesday and one of my first jobs was to contact all our governance volunteers. We are nearing the end of INTO’s restructuring and – ahead of our meeting on 26 April – need various approvals. Deeds to sign, resolutions to approve, bank mandates to witness. I was absolutely thrilled when the hard copies began to arrive at the office within days. Our board members really are stellar! Still a few hoops to jump through but with the wonderful Irena Edwards on the case, we will get there!
On Wednesday, I had a meeting with Fiona and a new Secretariat volunteer. Well, when I say meeting, we actually had lunch in a Cotswold pub and walked up Painswick Beacon. Far nicer than a meeting! It was rather a grey day so we didn’t get the hoped for views from the trig point. But we did get blue sky thinking!
Jo Burgon was until recently Head of Access and Recreation at the National Trust. I worked with him on the North America/UK Countryside Exchange and the Arkell Fellowship. I managed the latter programme and Jo was on the selection panel. We enabled young people to spend time in other countries, studying an alternative approach to heritage protection. (With the benefit of Google, which must have been in its infancy then, I’ve just found one of our Fellows’ reports here.)
I always thought Arkell was something INTO could build on. Which is what we were discussing with Jo: How to use past initiatives like Arkell and the European Exchange Programme to enliven our new Technical Assistance Programme? Moreover, how to draw on the experience of on-going activities like Working Holidays, Small Grants and our Mentoring Pilot? Watch this space as TAP-INTO develops!
On Friday, I hosted a meeting of the Czech National Trust Abroad. I was so impressed by the update from Prague. The team are pushing forward with the restoration of two public barometers alongside exciting plans to restore the Gutfreund Škoda logo. They are also arranging activities to celebrate 100 years of Czech-US relations in 2018. The day after the death of filmmaker Milos Forman, this project feels very relevant. And progress is ongoing at their first property in Moravia. Great to be a part of all of this and hugely looking forward to marking the Trust’s fourth anniversary on 19 June!
Thinking ahead to next week and a number of important conversations. Firstly a meeting with Bob and Julie about the INTO Business Plan. Secondly, a discussion about finding a volunteer structural engineer to help out the National Trust of Georgia. Thirdly, dinner with people helping us develop the INTO Ambassador Programme. Lots of other things in between but finally, a good catch-up with Oliver Maurice, who is over from France.
Lastly, Wednesday is World Heritage Day. An opportunity to raise public awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it. We weren’t able to do a lecture as we have done for the past couple of years. Nevertheless, we are preparing an article by Fiona for sharing on the day. We live in uncertain times so whatever we can do to bring the world together – culturally and spiritually – on 18 April seems very positive, if not essential.
In local news, Monty went on a Scout expedition this weekend and Connie climbed trees in the sunshine. Our crafting has been taken over by ‘sprites’: Little characters made out of wire and wool and that watch over their owner. Helping provide inspiration, good luck, magic; whatever is required. I might need an organiser sprite … We watched the Grand National with Granny. Her horse fell at the first. Ours didn’t do much better. We went to Milestones and bought sweets using old pennies and ration cards. (Oh and checked out the Lego sculptures again.) Roll on the heatwave next week!
Thanks for reading!