New regional opportunities were developed as the outcome of a special invitation by HRH The Prince of Wales for INTO to participate in the State visit to Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in March 2010.
Each leg of the visit provided an excellent opportunity to bring together local experts to discuss shared challenges and possible future collaboration.
In Hungary, INTO joined a round table discussion with representatives of the Hungarian cultural heritage sector at Ráday Castle, Pécel, managed by the Hungarian National Trust. This gathering offered an opportunity to discuss the issues the organisation faces in managing its properties, to understand how the Hungarian public views and values its heritage and to see how assets like Ráday Castle are affected by the difficult economic and funding climate.
In Prague, INTO had the privilege of setting the agenda for the meeting with HRH The Prince of Wales, and invited a number of existing and dormant contacts to the table. Our aim was to strengthen relationships between heritage conservation organisations by developing an innovative joint education programme, finalising plans for the first staff exchanges and voluntary working holidays with a view to building citizen support, and exploring the feasibility of establishing a Czech National Trust.
Similar discussions took place in Poland where country houses are also in need of care and attention and it was agreed to use one of the Polish properties as a pilot to develop best practice in conservation management techniques.
An outcome of all meetings included the concept for developing a built heritage training project – with colleagues in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland working alongside National Trusts, INTO and the Prince’s Charities.
We went on to organise a capacity building programme in 2011, generously funded by our Amicus member, Rodney Davidson, which explored shared challenges around conservation management and citizen engagement next year.
You can read more about our Central European Project here.
We were delighted when the Czech National Trust moved from dream to reality as you can read in this short case study: The Creation of a New Trust