One of our newest members is the Czech National Trust and we are delighted to welcome them to the INTO family, particularly as we have been so involved in their establishment over the years. From convening a round-table group in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales in Prague in 2011, to hosting the Central European Project in 2012 and offering on-going advice and support to the burgeoning group.
INTO’s Director of Membership, Oliver Maurice, made a number of visits to the Czech Republic concluding with the launch of the Trust in October 2013.
The London Launch of the Czech National Trust took place on 18 June 2014 at a formal dinner at the Reform Club, attended by HE the Czech Ambassador Mr Michael Zantovsky, representatives of Parliament and the Czech Government, and many distinguished members of the international heritage community, including Sir Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust, Baroness Kay Andrews and Catherine Leonard, INTO Secretary-General.
The main objectives of the Czech National Trust are to:
• Find new sources of funding for heritage
• Advocate for a better heritage protection regime
• Connect existing heritage organisations and develop a culture of donation and volunteering
• Train heritage professionals to internationally accepted standards
• Increase engagement of local communities
• Progress the perception of the Czech National Trust as a ‘safe pair of hands’ to administer, champion or own property for the benefit of the nation
With help from many different quarters including pro bono legal assistance and some seed funding, the Trust has established its office in Kroměříž, Moravia, where it employs a part-time director. Three community projects are on the way with two significant pilot projects in the pipeline. As the Czech National Trust has joined INTO
as a Candidate Member, we will continue to offer as much guidance and support as we can over the coming years to try to ensure its healthy development.