What is your heritage dream project? Funding available!

The People’s Postcode Lottery has launched the 2017 round of its Dream Fund, with a closing date of September 15- heritage engagement is eligible for up to £1m funding

The People’s Postcode Lottery writes:

The Dream Fund gives organisations the chance to deliver the project they have always dreamed of, but never had the opportunity to bring to life. We are asking charitable organisations across Great Britain to think big, be ambitious and collaborate with other not-for-profit partners to deliver their dream project.

Dream Fund 2017 is now open for applications. Applications are to be submitted via an online form that is available to access below. The deadline for applications is September 15th at 5:30pm.

Dream Fund 2017 is offering a total award fund of over £2.5 million for charitable organisations to deliver their ‘dream’ project in Great Britain (Scotland, England or Wales) in 2017-2019.

Charities will be able to apply for funding to deliver their dream project. There will be two or three awards in total. Successful projects will be announced in January 2017. Please read the guidance notes thoroughly before applying:

Registered charities and community organisations in Scotland, England or Wales can join forces to apply for up to £1,000,000 to deliver a new and innovative project up to 24 months in length that meets one or more of the following funding themes:

  • Early child development;
  • Helping refugees in our community;
  • Conserving our marine environment;
  • Reconnecting with the natural world; and,
  • Engaging people with arts’ culture and heritage.

View the press release

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Call for Entries- Arts & Business Scotland Awards

The thirtieth annual awards of Arts & Business Scotland are open for entries (closing date 30 September); Place, Placemaking and museums are included as categories, why not enter?

Arts & Business Scotland writes:

Arts & Business Scotland is inviting nominations for its 30th Annual Awards which  will be held in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Thursday 23rd March 2017. The annual event celebrates outstanding collaborations between the business and cultural sectors. Deadline for submitting nominations is midnight, Friday 30 September 2016.

The categories:

  • People
  • Placemaking
  • Innovation
  • Enterprise
  • International
  • Business Creativity
  • Enterprising Museum

Read more….

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Swansea Canal restoration news- allies include engineer that helped bury it!

A historic Welsh canal route is being revitalised with the help of an engineer who was originally involved in filling in the canal in the 1970’s.

The Canal and River Trust writes:

Volunteers working to restore lost sections of the Swansea Canal have enlisted an unusual ally – the engineer tasked with filling in the canal back in the 1970’s.

Swansea Canal Society, working with Gland?r Cymru – the Trust in Wales – made contact with John Evans as one of only three men alive who knows how the historic canal was buried in 1973, having been the engineer appointed by Glamorgan County Council to take on the project.  He’s now on board to help the restoration effort, and has been advising volunteers on how best to bring Lock 7, now the site of an old highways depot, back to life.

Martin Davies, a trustee of the Swansea Canal Society, said: ‘John has shed new light on what happened on the day the lock was buried. He had to reduce the height of the lock chamber sides by five feet and remove a quarter of its length to level out the ground surface for a new council depot, but so sure was he that one day the lock would re-emerge that he repointed all the surviving stone work. It was then buried together with one hundred yards of piped canal. We hope that the Society and the Canal & River Trust can restore both lock and canal and reward John’s act of faith.’

The Swansea Canal originally stretched the sixteen miles between Abercraf and Swansea, and like many of the UK’s inland waterways fell out of use, closing to commercial traffic in 1931. The following fifty years saw much of the waterway filled in, leaving only six miles and six – out of an original thirty six – locks in water. 

The restoration effort has been boosted by the huge commitment of local volunteers, who have clocked up over twenty five thousand hours’ work on the waterway in the past three years alone. The Swansea Canal Society has also recently been awarded a ‘Green Flag’ to recognise the canal’s environmental value to the local community.

Nick Worthington, waterway manager at Gland?r Cymru, said: ‘Swansea Canal Society have made huge progress in the restoration of the canal, and we’re really grateful for the massive amount of work they put in. Getting one of the original engineers on board is a big step towards bringing lost parts of the waterway back into use, and the recent Green Flag award shows how much the canal already brings to the community.’

View the press release

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HE protects three shipwrecks

Three historic shipwrecks in South West England have been given protection by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England. 

Historic England writes:

Shipwrecks have been a source of inspiration to English writers, artists and scholars for centuries – from Shakespeare to Enid Blyton, whose Famous Five spent a whole summer exploring a fictional Cornish wreck. This summer, these wrecks have been given special protection, and they include two that are often publicly accessible from the Devon sands.

Shifting sands and weather patterns can allow the public to see sights that are usually the preserve of divers. When the conditions are right, visitors to Devon can see this important historic coastal fabric, which has now been identified and given state protection, from dry land. Dating from the late Medieval period to the late 18th century, all three wrecks are rare survivals of wooden sailing vessels found in English waters and are protected for their potential to shed new light on key periods of England’s maritime history.

The earliest wreck, known as the Axe Boat, lies in a mud bank on the west side of the Axe River in south Devon. Before appearing out of the mud in 2001 following changes in the flow of the River Axe, the wreck was unrecorded, suggesting it has remained buried in the riverbed within living memory. It’s a rare example of vessels of the late medieval period and dating of extracted samples of wood indicates that it was built between 1400 and 1640. The hull retains characteristic features of medieval ships such as the ‘crook’d floor’ – a Y-shaped framing timber at the bottom of the vessel.

The Axe Boat is likely to have been used in coastal trade or fishing and such vessels were once prolific as England’s mercantile trade developed. Axmouth was ranked as a major port by the mid-14th century and accounted for 15% of the country’s shipping trade.

The other two wrecks lie a few hundred metres apart on the sands at Northam Burrows Country Park in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in North Devon. They date to the late 18th century and have been exposed by the elements a number of times over the past few decades, most recently following the winter storms of 2014.

The larger wreck at Westward Ho! (23metres long x 7 metres wide) is nationally important because it still retains its key identifying features despite the effects of erosion, with the ship’s construction and orientation clearly visible. It is believed to be the remains of the ‘Sally’, which ran aground on the sands in 1769, while bound from Oporto in Portugal to Bristol with a cargo of port wine.

The smaller boat was probably a Severn Trow, a small merchant ship working locally in the Bristol Channel coastline around 200 years ago. It is lying at such an angle that it appears to have been driven ashore in a storm. 11,000 vessels are known to have been wrecked in England waters in the late 18th century and few from this period have been discovered other than naval ships or important trading vessels such as East India Company ships. Together, the two wrecks are significant because they represent England’s commercial ambitions of the time.

All three wrecks lie in sand or in mud in the inter-tidal zone so are freely accessible to visit on public land at the points when they are uncovered. No diving licence is required, though attention must be given to local tidal conditions.

View the news release

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IHBC welcomes planned re-launch of UKAPT as Heritage Trust Network

HTN_conf2016The IHBC has welcomed plans for the re-launch of UKAPT as Heritage Trust Network (HTN), following funding support for the transition from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), with the official launch planned at HTN’s inaugural national conference at the Custard Factory in Birmingham on 13-14 October.

IHBC Chair James Caird said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome this renewal of UKAPT as the Heritage Trust Network, not least as it represents so many bodies with key roles in our sector. We see the Trust as an essential partner in helping raise both professional standards and the profile of conservation-led regeneration in the public and political arenas.’

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘The re-structuring of UKAPT as the Heritage Trust Network represents a critical moment in the transformation and modernisation of the sector.  The IHBC is very keen to do what we can to help deliver on all the ambitions in the renewal of this pivotal link body.’ 

HTN writes

We are delighted to announce the launch of Heritage Trust Network, the new name for UK Association of Building Preservation Trusts (UKAPT),  originally established in 1989 as a grass roots umbrella organisation offering guidance and support to building preservation trusts. The new organisation is the result of a recent and significant period of transition, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It will take forward the best of the last 27 years of UKAPT but with a broader remit, supporting all forms of not-for-profit groups who are breathing life and enterprise into the UK’s threatened historic places.

Sarah McLeod, Chair of Heritage Trust Network, who has been leading the transition process said: ‘Over the last 12 months, our organisation, including members and advisors, has been exploring how we can ensure our charity is  resilient and fit for purpose. We will continue working to support members across nine regions, whilst developing new partnerships with other heritage organisations and funders, widening our membership. We will of course continue to provide a  national voice for heritage regeneration. The change to Heritage Trust Network is more than just a name change; it’s an exciting new chapter in our organisation’s history which will bring greater benefits to everyone involved in tackling historic buildings and heritage assets at risk.’

New features of Heritage Trust Network include:

  • A specific membership package for individuals working in the heritage sector as well as a new Corporate Supporters offer,  meaning that more people are now able to benefit from the expertise of the network
  • A new Start Up Membership for fledgling groups. This package, which includes visits to live projects, is designed for new unconstituted groups  who are considering starting a project.
  • An interactive Toolkit with new and improved guidance notes
  • A Talent Bank on the website where Corporate Supporters and Full Members can advertise their services and expertise, providing a useful go-to list of heritage professionals.

The new website www.heritagetrustnetwork.org.uk will go ‘live’ from the end of August, and Heritage Trust Network will be launched officially at HTN’s inaugural national conference in Birmingham in October – ‘Extraordinary People, Extraordinary Projects’.

See conference details

Further details about the launch of Heritage Trust Network please contact:

Vicki Cox  Vicki.cox@heritagetrustnetwork.org.uk

Tel: 0121 233 9283 or mob: 07469 809355

Elizabeth Perkins Elizabeth.perkins@heritagetrustnetwork.org.uk

Tel: 0121 233 9283 or mob: 07470 350439

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IHBC offers 2 bursaries for HTF’s ‘Growing Historic Cities’, Oxford, Sept 12-13

The IHBC is delighted to announce 2 bursaries on offer for IHBC members of any category to attend the Historic Towns Forum (HTF) ‘Growing Historic Cities’, in Oxford on 12-13 September, each worth up to £119. 

IHBC Vice Chair Kathy Davies said: ‘This is a great opportunity for members to broaden their awareness of practical skills and understanding in historic city management and development across Europe.’

‘I am delighted that the IHBC is able to offer two places to our members, both for the targeted support it can give to upskilling where it is most needed, and for the event itself.’

‘I’m sure there’ll be lots of interest in this, so if you are keen to get our support for your attendance, please make your case to us as soon as possible, as the awarding criteria will need to balance relevance, need and timeliness across the applications!’ 

HTF writes:

The pressures on Britain’s historic towns – unaffordable housing, congestion and pollution, and an ageing population – are leading to demands for ‘smarter ‘growth.  These can include urban extensions and even new garden cities, and the possibility of using New Town Development Corporations to mobilise resources. There have been calls for fundamental rethinking on green belts, as well as countervailing lobbies to keep historic cities small 

This conference will draw together lessons from leading examples of recent growth in both the UK and Europe. It will enable local politicians, officers and professional practitioners to discuss how to secure quality investment while improving both the built and the natural environment.  A particular focus in be on funding local infrastructure, working with Local Authorities, and securing quality.

The event will feature case studies from three leading examples of historic cities that have benefitted from planned growth:

  • Cambridge, a world university , where new housing is being developed on land taken out of the greenbelt, linked by a Guided Busway, with business parks around the edge of the city
  • Grenoble, France’s premier science city, where five tram lines have enabled the city to expand, while the historic centre has become a place to relax, hosting offices of leading engineering companies
  • Freiburg, Germany’s award winning ‘Solar Capital’, where the new extensions of Vauban and Rieselfeld are influencing developments all over Europe 

Bursary applications are judged on an applicant’s statement of case and need as well as the timing of the application.

To apply for a bursary please send a statement on how you see the experience benefitting your skills development and personal needs, to bursaries@ihbc.org.uk

Full details of the programme

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Reminder: HE survey on LA service models closes today

IHBC members and colleagues are reminded that the Historic England (HE) commissioned survey to get a better picture of the number, type and location of Local Authorities (LAs) using outsourced historic environment advice provision and is seeking responses to an online survey from LA IHBC members and their colleagues, with a closing date of 19 August. 

For more background see below:

IHBC members & colleagues invited to help HE survey on LA service models

Complete the survey

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RTPI report stresses value of planners in times of uncertainty

Deep budget cuts and continual changes in planning policy have stripped public sector planners of the powers and resources to perform leadership and coordinating roles, according to report…

Strategic leadership from local authority planners to spur public sector-led development is urgently needed when private developers are vulnerable from post-Brexit uncertainty, yet 73% % of planners in England feel changes to the planning system have reduced their ability to deliver, the RTPI has said in a new report ‘Delivering the value of planning’.

The RTPI writes:

A survey of planners working in England, published in a new report, reveals

  • 53 % of respondents think that planning reforms have hindered planners in ensuring more housing is built;
  • nearly 70% think they are less able to deliver the benefits of planning compared to 10 years ago.

The report from the RTPI – the voice of professional planning – warns that deep budget cuts and continual changes in planning policy over the last 30 years have stripped public sector planners of the powers and resources to perform leadership and coordinating roles.

It says in England it has resulted in a system that is more complicated and more uncertain, with a reduced ability to ensure that development is well-planned and connected to transport and facilities, and a narrower range and number of affordable housing to rent or buy. 

Phil Williams, RTPI President, said: ‘For too long planning has been relegated to a reactive, bureaucratic function, instead of being able to plan strategically to drive development, jobs and growth. We are hearing from our members a clear sense that deep budget cuts and constant changes have hindered their ability to operate strategically and perform a leadership role.  Public sector planners’ ability to be proactive is especially important in these uncertain times. It is absolutely crucial we resource councils’ planning teams properly, so that planners can operate strategically.  We want to see closer integration of planning activities with councils’ economic development and devolved areas of responsibilities to guide private sector investment and keep up the momentum for building.  It is also vital that local authorities work more closely with each other and the private sector to address land supply issues and provide the certainty the market needs.’

The report calls for:

  • stronger public sector-led management of land supply
  • a stronger private sector role in development partnerships (drawing on the lessons from Urban Regeneration Companies, Urban Development Corporations, and Enterprise Zones)
  • better resourced planning departments and more stable planning system that provides greater certainty for developers and communities
  • better integration of planning activity with all kinds of infrastructure provision 

Read the report and the press release

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Greg Clark in NI stresses role of ‘place’ in industrial strategy

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark has highlighted the role of local growth and the importance of ‘place’ in developing and delivering the government’s industrial strategy, during a visit to Northern Ireland (NI).

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, writes:

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark has underlined the vital role of local growth and the importance of ‘place’ in developing and delivering the government’s comprehensive industrial strategy during a visit to Belfast.

For the first time, all ministers in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will act as local growth champions across the United Kingdom and will be tasked with building relationships with a number of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

Ministers will also engage with businesses and local leaders in the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and will act as a first point of contact for respective LEPs in England within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: ‘Government has helped transform the business landscape by putting power back into the hands of local communities and businesses to drive economic growth. To make sure every corner of the UK benefits, I am giving ministers in my team geographic areas of responsibility so they can build on existing relationships to better connect government policy with the businesses and industries we’re working with.  This is part of our plan to build an economy that works for all. An effective industrial strategy has to recognise and take advantage of the differences and unique strengths that exist across the country, and I will be encouraging all my ministers to get out there and meet the people who know their area best.’

The announcement was made as the Business and Energy Secretary visited Belfast with Industry and Energy Minister Jesse Norman, who has been appointed the lead for Northern Ireland. During the visit, the Business and Energy Secretary hosted a roundtable with leading local firms from the maritime, energy and engineering sectors.

Industry and Energy Minister Jesse Norman said: ‘A key part of the government’s industrial strategy will be to try to ensure that industries in Northern Ireland have the support and infrastructure they need to thrive.  That is why it’s important we’re in Belfast today, listening to businesses that support the local economy. I look forward to working with them and others in future.’

Read more….

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Views sought on apprenticeships: closing 5 Sept

England’s Department for Education has published for consultation proposals for a new funding model for apprenticeships and further details on the apprenticeship levy as £2.5 billion will be invested in apprenticeship training in England by 2020 under plans recently unveiled.

Government writes:

The funding will support people of all ages to gain high-quality skills and experience and help employers to offer more training opportunities and build a skilled workforce.

Under the plans for the levy, the government has proposed that employers that are too small to pay the levy – around 98% of employers in England – will have 90% of the costs of training paid for by the government, reassuring millions of small businesses.

Extra support – worth £2,000 per trainee – will also be available for employers and training providers that take on 16- to 18-year-old apprentices or young care leavers. Employers with fewer than 50 employees will also have 100% of training costs paid for by government if they take on these apprentices. This will help to ensure every young person, regardless of background or ability, has the chance to make their first step into work.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon said: ‘We need to make sure people of all ages and backgrounds have a chance to get on in life. Apprenticeships give young people – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds – a ladder of ?opportunity. That’s why we continue to work tirelessly to deliver the skills our country needs. The apprenticeship levy is absolutely crucial to this.  Our businesses can only grow and compete on the world stage if they have the right people, with the right skills. The apprenticeship levy will help create millions of opportunities for individuals and employers. This will give our young people the chance they deserve in life and to build a highly-skilled future workforce that the UK needs.’

The government is inviting employers and training providers to have their say on the initial funding proposals, to try to ensure final plans fully meet the needs of all those involved in the apprenticeship programme.

The proposals outlined include plans to:

  • support all employers to offer high-quality apprenticeships: employers which are too small to contribute to the apprenticeship levy would have 90% of the cost of apprenticeship training paid – ensuring employers of all sizes can develop the next generation of skilled workers
  • provide extra funding for young apprentices and care leavers: the government will pay an additional £2,000 to help 16- to 18-year-olds, young care leavers and young people with an education, health and care (EHC) plan, make their first step into the world of work – with £1,000 going to employers and an additional £1,000 to training providers. Furthermore, employers with fewer than 50 employees will not have to pay anything towards the cost of training a 16- to 18-year-old apprentice, young care leaver or young person with an EHC plan
  • offer more flexibility for employers to retrain individuals: employers will be able to use levy funds to retrain workers in new skills, even if they have prior qualifications – giving them the freedom to make the training decisions that are right for them so they can train any individual to start an apprenticeship, as long as it is significantly different from their previous qualifications
  • support employers taking on more apprentices: levy-paying employers – those with a pay bill of over £3 million that want to spend more on training than is in their digital account – will benefit from government support with 90% of their additional apprenticeship training costs being funded, so they can continue to recruit and retrain highly-skilled employees
  • give employers more control and access to better quality training: employers will have the power to determine exactly what training their apprentices receive and what provider they receive it from. A new register of training providers, also outlined today, will be introduced from April 2017 to improve the link between training providers and employers to will help employers identify a high-quality provider so they can deliver the skills they need to grow.

Petra Wilton, the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) Director of Strategy, said: ‘Apprenticeships are a proven route for raising business productivity. Leading employers are already adopting the new professional pathways such as the chartered manager degree apprenticeship, and the new generous levels of government co-investment announced today are welcomed by many businesses, especially those smaller organisations outside the scope of the levy.  I strongly encourage employers to get involved and ensure that this extensive new offer fully meets their needs. As it can provide the much needed injection of confidence and certainty in the skills agenda, which is needed now more than ever.’ 

See the consultation and read more….

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HLF ‘Heritage Endowments’ fund: helping generate regular income

A new programme has been launched by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) called ‘heritage endowments’ aiming to help organisations create a regular annual income.

The HLF writes:

Helping people explore, enjoy and share their heritage, in all its diversity, is at the core of all we do at HLF. But that principle firmly relies on our heritage being open and accessible to the public, as well as safeguarded for the future.

As in any industry, an over reliance on a single source of income has the potential to weaken the resilience of a heritage organisation.  Diversification is key and that’s why today we’ve launched Heritage Endowments.  Heritage Endowments will enable organisations to create financial reserves that can be drawn on and invested to create a regular source of annual income.

Now, these are challenging economic times and we appreciate that building an endowment and attracting philanthropic giving isn’t easy.  But where Heritage Endowments helps is by providing grants of £250,000, £500,000 or £1million that will be matched pound for pound by private donations.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF, said: ‘Building an endowment is one way heritage organisations can enhance their long-term reserves, which is vital for financial resilience.  In this difficult economic landscape that’s a challenging ask but Heritage Endowments is there to provide the boost needed to make it happen.’

This new endowments programme builds on the success of Catalyst Endowments.  A partnership between the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, HLF and Arts Council England, Catalyst has helped over 30 heritage organisations diversify their income streams by attracting private donations to create endowments. Heritage Endowments aims to continue this success.

View the press release

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Opinion- Birmingham facing a conservation crisis?

The Birmingham Post has reported on recent issues in Birmingham city, claiming that ‘the historic fabric of some areas is now ‘in crisis’ as the authority has been forced to scrap several conservation areas because it cannot enforce regulations within them anymore’

Read more….

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Changes to Welsh appeals regime under consultation till 4 November

The Welsh government has started consulting on proposed changes to the planning appeals regime, including updates to standard daily amounts charged by the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of Welsh ministers and updated guidance for awards of costs, all with a closing date of 4 November.

See the consultation

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DCMS Cultural Citizens Programme helps access to culture – including heritage sites

Three pilot programmes have been announced by Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) relating to the Cultural Citizens Programme which aims to help disadvantaged children access cultural opportunities, including work under Historic England through heritage schools.

DCMS writes:

Six hundred schoolchildren will be given unique access to cultural institutions as part of a new scheme to increase access to the arts, the Culture Secretary Karen Bradley announced today.

The first pilots of the Cultural Citizens Programme will be launched in September in Liverpool and Blackpool, Birmingham, and Barking and Dagenham. The programme targets disadvantaged communities where fewer people currently visit museums, galleries or the theatre.

Young people on the programme will be offered a range of cultural activities, such as free visits to local plays, behind the scenes access to museums and galleries, and exclusive trips to world class venues, so they develop a lifelong love of the arts.

Participants in some areas will build new skills, including learning to use social media accounts or being tour guides. Young people taking part in the programme will also be encouraged to work towards an Arts Award qualification….

The details of the three pilot programmes are as follows:

Liverpool and Blackpool:

  • Working with Curious Minds, the programme will give 200 local 11-14 year olds the opportunity to engage with cultural organisations, public art, heritage sites and arts festivals.
  • Young people will work with specially trained Culture Coaches to plan extra-curricular visits to festivals, theatres, galleries and museums such as FACT, Liverpool Everyman, Tate Liverpool and Museum of Liverpool.
  • They will review and share their experiences to achieve a Bronze Arts Award.


  • A New Direction will partner with Creative Barking and Dagenham and Studio3Arts to ensure high quality arts opportunities for pupils across five secondary schools.
  • Cultural Citizens Clubs will be set up in the schools and will help students to design a programme of cultural visits.
  • The pilot will link with ‘Creative Schools’ a network of 30 arts organisations who will provide visits and opportunities for the young people involved.
  • All the work will be accredited through the Arts Award so that young people will finish the programme with a qualification that will help them progress to higher education or work.


  • Kids in Museums Cultural Citizens pilot will look to partner with 20 arts organisations in Birmingham – from opera to street theatre, orchestras to high art.
  • 200 young people – Cultural Champions – will work with 20 organisations, taking on roles of responsibility within these organisations, such as tour guides in galleries, front of house in theatres, running social media, designing an events programme and running workshops.
  • Birmingham’s 200 Cultural Champions will be given free tickets to three different performances in the city, beginning this October with the Birmingham Rep theatre

View the press release

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Historic Synagogues – at risk updates

Jewish Heritage UK has published a new report into state of repair of synagogues has concluded that general improvements have been made overall in their condition, and flagship projects have helped repair those most at risk, however falls in membership and poor maintenance are still risk factors UK wide.

Jewish Heritage UK writes:

Britain’s historic synagogues are in better shape than they were five years ago, according to Jewish Heritage’s latest report published this week.  This is especially the case in London where all but one historic synagogue are now rated as ‘Good’ or ‘Fair’ in terms of the key indicators by which ‘Risk’ is measured in the Heritage world: ‘Condition’ and ‘Usage’. The biggest threats to historic synagogues are poor maintenance and redundancy because of falling membership.

Big repair projects have been carried out at Sandys Row on the edge of the city and at Golders Green, thanks in large part to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Both buildings are now experiencing a new lease of life, contrary to many expectations.

Britain’s oldest ‘cathedral synagogue’, Singers Hill in Birmingham, that for years fought closure, is also enjoying a renaissance. Now finding itself In the centre of a regenerated city centre quarter, this building has undergone renovation largely funded privately by members and has acquired a dynamic rabbinical couple who are turning the shul once again into a hive of activity.

Leicester’s Orthodox congregation have opted to sell off their 1950s hall across the road and to hang on to their distinctive late Victorian synagogue, shown on the cover of the Report. Their foresight has paid off: since 2012 they have landed no fewer than three publicly-funded Heritage grants, totalling almost £145,000, for repairs to the building, development of educational resources on site, as well as for a documentation project of the turn-of-the-20th-century Jewish Section at the city’s Gilroes Cemetery, that was opened soon after the synagogue (in 1902).

The Report’s author, Dr Sharman Kadish, commented, ‘All these examples demonstrate the fact that well-maintained buildings stimulate more activity inside them.  Jewish Heritage’s aim is to preserve the powerful link between Binyan [building] and Minyan [community] for the benefit of future generations.’

Challenges remain. The Report highlights a group of highly graded Victorian synagogues: Liverpool’s Princes Road (Grade I), Bradford’s Bowland Street (Grade II*) and Brighton’s Middle Street (Grade II*) as in need of urgent work to arrest further deterioration. This is especially true in Bradford, where an HLF Repair Grant has been awarded for the first time. In all these places small enthusiastic congregations have worked hard not only to make their shul a widely recognised hub for local Jews, but also a magnet for many non-Jewish visitors, including school parties, especially during this month’s national and European Jewish Heritage Open Days.

‘At Risk’ synagogues are most likely to date from the early 20th century and to be located in the North of England. Sunderland, Blackpool and Liverpool’s Greenbank have all now closed and are seeking appropriate new users.

The recently announced capital development grant for the Manchester Jewish Museum, housed in the city’s Victorian Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, is set to bring the amount of public funding contributed to historic synagogues to nearly £5 million.

View the press release

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NW Branch conference reminder – ‘Home is where the heart is…’: Liverpool, 6 October

NW2016The North West (NW) Branch of the IHBC has launched its 2016 Day Conference, ‘Home is where the heart is: Meeting housing need in historic buildings and areas’, which will take place on 6 October at the Liverpool Medical Institution.

See previous NewsBlog below

IHBC NW conference – ‘Home is where the heart is…’ – launched at IHBC’s 2016 School: 6 October

For more details and to book see housing.ihbc.org.uk

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