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  • International National Trusts: Secretariat News (April – June 2019)

    Posted on June 6, 2019

    Latest news from the INTO Secretariat

    It was wonderful to see so many INTO members and friends (new and old) at our Conference in Bermuda in March.  We are deeply grateful to everyone who made it the success we all found it to be, particularly the  Bermuda National Trust, their wonderful staff, Board and volunteers.  I wrote a summary in my regular blog but the key messages were a) the extraordinary diversity of the NTs around the world; b) working together makes us stronger and c) it is essential that we open our arms as wide as possible.

    Alexander Lamont-Bishop started at INTO as our Deputy Secretary-General just before the Conference.  He has spent his first three months getting to know INTO members and developing opportunities for them to learn from one another.  Our new TAP-INTO travel grants are a focal point, alongside ASK-INTO and a planned NT startup lab or incubator.  Alex is also working hard on a communications plan that will articulate INTO’s identity, values and uniqueness.  Moreover it will facilitate engagement with increasing numbers of prospective members, partner organisations and supporters.

    – Catherine and the Secretariat team


    We put together this little film showcasing the diversity of our organisations and work. Thanks to everyone who submitted video footage!

    We hosted the Innocastle Project partners and stakeholders (including INTO members: Herita, the Gelderland Trust and of course the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

    Catherine and Alex visited Oliver Maurice in France for a handover

    We brought together European heritage experts at the Hay Festival for a debate about European unity

    We launched our new Instagram channel on World Heriage Day.  Do follow us @intoheritage !

    David Brown’s visit to Hampshire!


    ICNT news: The Bermuda Conference was the ‘best ever’ according to our Chair, Fiona Reynolds.  Furthermore, the stories we heard really highlighted the diversity of the amazing organisations INTO brings together.  And yet that the things that concern us are basically the same.  People spoke about biodiversity loss and invasive species.  Of historic site interpretation and building skills.  Managing small islands and climate of heritage inventories. Building membership, fundraising and volunteerism.  And lastly of ensuring that the heritage preserved by INTO members fully reflects the communities we represent.  It was a pleasure to hear of heroic endeavours, share experiences and to listen to committed voices.

    Reciprocal visiting: Following discussions in Bermuda, we have surveyed the membership again and are moving forward the discussion with those who want to be part of the new programme.

    Working holidays: Julie Thompson reports good progress on enquiries and bookings for the INTO working holidays scheme. Alex has also been in touch with National Trust for Scotland about extending advertising reach.

    Mentoring: Building on feedback from the Mentoring pilot, we have developed a new ASK-INTO facility.  This programme brings together a number of previous membership services under one roof.   For example our Expert Network and the specialist advice offered by the INTO Secretariat.  It enables INTO members to request INTO’s help finding the expertise they need by drawing on our international network of contacts.

    David Brown, former Executive Vice-President and Chief Preservation Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, visited the UK spending time with Fiona and Catherine.  He also spoke to NTEWNI Headquarters staff and met the team at Historic England working on a new programme on regenerating historic high streets.

    TAP-INTO: The first tranche of our new Technical Assistance Programme was launched in Bermuda.  TAP-INTO provides travel grants of up to £2,000 to support partnerships between INTO members.  Projects should facilitate an exchange of knowledge and expertise. For the first half of 2019, TAP-INTO has an Americas focus.  This means that only organisations in the wider Americas region were able to apply to begin with.  It will be opened up worldwide on 1 July 2019.


    Membership growth: We have welcomed the following new members since the Bermuda Conference: St Christopher National Trust and the Haiti National Trust, with several more in the pipeline.

    Candidates and new Trusts: Alex has been working up ideas for a new National Trust startup lab or incubator programme. This is due to take place in the UK in early 2020 and will bring together people considering National Trust model. The intensive week-long workshop will prepare them to set up a new trust.


    Communications: Alex has been taking a focused look at INTO’s communications output.  He is now working up recommendations that will deliver against all four pillars of the strategy.  A lot of activity centred on the website and our newsletters, with the help of John Martin.  We are also working with Jorge Diaz, a past volunteer for INTO, to develop a new visual identity and templates for future use.

    Voice papers: We launched our new-look, updated paper on Heritage Conservation and the SDGs in Bermuda. Please continue to send us your case studies to add to it!   Since the conference, Alex has researched a paper on Diversity in the National Trust Movement which will be launched in the autumn, once the visual identity has been finalised.

    Innocastle: Catherine continues to lead our involvement in this EU funded Interreg Europe Project.  This included organising the recent study visit to Wales.   The focus of this learning exchange was on volunteering, partnerships and business planning.

    INTO Excellence Awards: We were delighted to present our first INTO Excellence Awards in Bermuda!  The Awards celebrate the very best of our member organisations’ work around the world, often undertaken amid difficult circumstances and without seeking glory or acclaim but just trying to look after our global heritage for future generations. The Jury selected winners that will delight and inspire all those involved in heritage conservation, wherever they are in the world.  Find out more about our five winners on the INTO website.


    Governance: Our accounts are about to be formally audited.  This will ensure that we set off on the right foot with our new governance arrangements.  Jacqui Sealy has now taken over the day-to-day financial oversight.  The Secretariat team met Fiona for lunch at the end of May.  This was followed with a brainstorming session on membership benefits.

    Helen Hamlyn Trust grant: Although Alex has only been in post for just over two months, we have submitted our first report to the HHT.  The Trustees will consider this at their meeting on 1 July.   On 11 June, we will hold the first meeting of the TAP-INTO decision panel which includes three external experts.

    We have already successfully secured two Ambassadors: His Highness, Gaj Singh the Maharajah of Jodhpur and Hashim Djojohadikusumo, the Indonesian entrepreneur. Both have committed to be high-level advocates for INTO and will lend credibility to our work because of their well-recognised accomplishments. Their ‘duties’ are designed to be flexible but are likely to include attending an INTO dinner or event when they can.

    Membership renewals: We are transitioning to a new system which will be managed by Jacqui Sealy.

    Amicus: We have been taking soundings on how to improve the Amicus programme, in consultation with our existing supporters.

    New technology: Bill has been working hard on the INTO websites, as usual!  This has included mapping and analysis, tidying up the main website and closing down some of the inactive sites, and the removal of foreign language pages.  Last month was a particularly bad one for site security.  Firstly we were the subject of a massive attach by hackers (known as a denial of service attack) that made the site response slow or even impossible.   This was detected and blocked but did impact traffic for several days.  Secondly and much longer in duration was the global problem with the newest version of WordPress that impacted servers around the world.   As a result our statistics for May are about 25% down from April.  Finally Alex is continuing to talk to NTEWNI colleagues about possible new solutions for the INTO website.

    If this post does not display correctly, you can download it here as a pdf!

    Coming up

    Next week, Catherine will be attending the fifth anniversary of the Czech National Trust.  Prominent international heritage experts will discuss with their Czech counterparts the role of heritage in 21st century, finding new ways of financing heritage, how to make it self supporting, relevant to people and communities, sustainable and values-led.

    The conference will take place at the Strahov Monastery in Prague, the location of some of our working holidays!  She will introduce National Trusts from around the world that are involving people in the protection and enjoyment of heritage, and the work of INTO to build organisational capacity and to support the development of heritage friendly policies through the EU-funded Innocastle project.

    We will also be part of the Innocastle study visit to Gelderland.  In addition Catherine will visit Antwerp to kick off planning for the 2021 Conference.  Put 20-23 April in your diaries now!

    Catherine’s blogs are available here.

    Find out more about the INTO Amicus supporters programme here.

    Remember, you can now save on hotel bookings and help INTO at the same time with Goodwings!

    The International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) is a non-profit organisation registered as a charity England and Wales (No 1175994).  Our registered address is 20 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0DH, UK.

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