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  • Support for INTO members (Weekly update, 5 June 2020)

    Posted on June 5, 2020
    A blog by Catherine Leonard, Secretary-General

    It’s Friday again!  And we’ve had another good week at the INTO home offices.  I’ve particularly enjoyed reading the responses from our Covid-19 TAP-INTO grant recipients.  We were delighted to be able to make awards to INTO members from Fiji to Zanzibar, Saint Lucia to Jordan.  And here are a couple of their replies:

    “To be able to reach out to INTO for assistance at this time is wonderful. One of the silver linings of the pandemic has been the sense of community and support in the voluntary sector and INTO has been at the forefront in this area.”

    “In the moments like this one is reminded how blessed we are to be part of a caring and supportive INTO family.”

    Those really have made my week – thanks to all of you for your support and everything you do for people and places around the world.  INTO wouldn’t be INTO without you!

    Reopening our places

    I’m separating out our reopening update this week which you can download from the INTO website here.

    Some lovely images, ideas and feedback. Particularly from FAI, who’ve now had their second (long) weekend of opening, the Trustees of Reservations and the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which opened 29 gardens and parklands on Wednesday.  Well done everyone – the feedback from your supporters looks amazing!  All that planning, preparation and hard work has really paid off.

    Celebrate Islands

    On Wednesday I had the honour of chairing a Celebrate Islands webinar involving several INTO members.  Organised by the Conservatoire du Littoral and their partners, our webinar brought together voices from the Americas and Europe to share experiences as we seek to strengthen island resilience.   We heard some good practical solutions for getting ready to reopen and reengage after the pandemic from the Cayman Islands National Trust.  With a focus on being flexible, ready and proactive.

    The Saint Lucia National Trust has been developing creative solutions and growing virtual engagement amongst its members and supporters.  Online events themed around environmental observances, like Earth Day or World Turtle Day, have provided opportunities to share conservation messages.  Both organisations talked about redeploying staff, learning new skills and sharing responsibilities.

    The lack of tourists is impacting all our islands, which was echoed by the National Trust in Wales, where island communities like Anglesey rely heavily on visitors. We heard that nature is coming back (something also observed in Saint Lucia) and people are noticing it more too.  Coronavirus is offering us an opportunity to rethink as individuals, communities, organisations and even whole countries.

    All in all, it was an interesting discussion and we’re very grateful to the organisers, speakers and participants!  (There is a summary on our website here and the recording will be available shortly.)

    INTO Annual Report 2019

    In case you missed it in the newsletter last week, here is our 2019 Annual Report (glossy version).  Flicking back through it, I’m reminded of all the travelling and connecting we normally do here at INTO.  How times have changed …

    Holding a virtual conference


    Many INTO members are taking their work and programmes online this year.  We are still planning to go ahead with our INTO Antwerp 2021 conference (and in fact had a project meeting with our hosts and steering committee yesterday) but for those of you who’d welcome some ideas about holding a virtual conference, why not take a look at this advice from Interpret Europe, the European Association for Heritage Interpretation?


    Lastly, I urge you to read these statements from the National Trust for Historic Preservation on the Death of George Floyd and the aftermath, and In response to protests at Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square.

    Here’s a quote from Paul Edmondson’s statement: “We believe that historic preservation can play a critical role in acknowledging and healing the divisions in our nation, by telling the full story of our often-difficult history, by elevating and preserving the enormous and important contributions African Americans have made to our nation, and by carrying that powerful legacy forward through places of truth and reconciliation.”

    We are all so saddened, but this is not just something that’s happening in America.  We all need to tackle inequity and injustice, wherever we are in the world.  And how I do that in my life is something I’m going to be reflecting on over the coming days.

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