Sheffield CC persuades High Court to lift injunction on tree-felling

Sheffield City Council has persuaded the High Court to lift an injunction that prohibited the local authority and its contractor Amey from felling trees as part of its £2.2bn ‘Streets Ahead’ project.

Read more at LocalGovernmentLawyer

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Wales 2017: ‘Year of Legends’

The Welsh Government has confirmed that 2017 will be a ‘year of legends’, presenting opportunities for members in Wales to tie into the theme (promoted by Business Information Wales) with projects addressing intangible heritage as well as stories and legends around historic buildings in their community. 

Cadw writes:
The Welsh Government has today confirmed that its 2017 tourism marketing campaign will celebrate the Year of Legends and released details of how tourism providers, attractions and businesses across Wales can learn more.

As latest stats show a successive annual increase in visitor volumes and expenditure, with interim figures for 2015 on track to exceed the record visitor spend of £1.735 billion set in 2014, the ‘Year of Legends’ campaign will continue to raise the profile of Wales’s tourism offer and aims to attract even more visitors to Wales in 2017.

To allow the industry to engage in the planning process the ‘Year of Legends’ will be a key feature of the Visit Wales tourism industry roadshows which will visit Aberystwyth, Caerphilly, Llanelli and Colwyn Bay between 10 and 25 May 2016.

Year of Legends follows on from the success of the 2016 Year of Adventure – which so far has seen a nationwide celebration over last weekend’s activity filled ‘Great Weekend of Adventure’, an international marketing campaign, and the commercial success of a huge dragon sculpture at Caerphilly Castle.

Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: ‘The Year of Legends 2017 presents an opportunity to build on the truly distinctive identity Wales has on the world stage, by allowing us to capitalise on Wales’s rich culture and heritage to stand-apart from our competitors. In doing so, we want to reinforce positive perceptions of our country, and position Wales as a high-quality, relevant and contemporary 21st century destination. The Year of Legends is our chance to immerse people in our epic story. And an opportunity to create legendary experiences for everyone.’

Tourism providers across Wales are being encouraged to create or theme product and experiences using Wales’s legends as inspiration – ranging from our historic heroes and sporting greats to the country’s iconic heritage sites and legendary tales.

To support this, the Welsh Government has previously announced funding is being made available through the Regional Tourism Engagement Fund and Tourism Product Innovation Funds with the aim of developing Year of Legends projects and activities across Wales.

View the press release

Find out more about roadshow information dates through Business Information Wales

IHBC NewsBlogs on tourism

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Second homes under examination at St Ives

A Council in Cornwall has introduced a controversial new policy within its neighbourhood plan which proposes restrictions on second or holiday homes, with residents voting on 5 May on whether or not to adopt the plan.

View information on the St Ives Area Neighbourhood Development Plan

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Museum of London’s Smithfield site: International shortlist out

The Museum of London has announced the six architectural teams shortlisted to design its new museum in West Smithfield in the international design £200k competition organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC), as the museum also released full details of the competition jury.

The new museum, which has a £130-150m construction budget, will secure the future of a series of much-loved heritage buildings at West Smithfield, help regenerate this historic part of the City of London and relaunch the museum, which has seen its audiences soar in recent years.

The shortlisted teams are (in alphabetical order):

  • BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (DK) with Hawkins\Brown (UK)
  • Caruso St John Architects (UK)
  • Diener & Diener Architekten (CH) with Sergison Bates Architects (UK)
  • Lacaton & Vassal Architectes (FR) with Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio (UK)
  • Stanton Williams (UK) with Asif Khan (UK)
  • studio Milou architecture (FR) with RL& Associés (FR) and Axis Architects (UK)

Almost 80 teams (comprising circa 140 practices) entered the first stage of the competition, which had a strong international showing. The shortlisted teams were selected on the basis of relevant skills and experience, particularly, those involved with significant cultural projects which have had a truly transformational impact.

Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, said: ‘It’s been an intriguing process so far, the range of creative architectural practices who submitted is phenomenal. The shortlist’s mix promises a fascinating next stage when the finalists’ concept designs go on display at the Museum of London this summer. I look forward to hearing the views of Londoners in the run-up to the jury reviewing the designs and choosing the winner.’

Lucy Musgrave, Director, Publica, and competition juror, said: ‘The site for the new museum is complex and intricate. The shortlist represents an intriguing range of talent, some fresh and inspired collaborations, and reflects the international significance of this competition.  Each of the finalists in different ways has created great cultural places in cities around the world, and we’re confident they will do the same for London.’

The shortlisted practices will now be briefed and asked to produce design concepts which will be displayed in an exhibition at the Museum of London in the summer before a winner is selected by the jury.

The Museum of London has appointed a stellar panel of jurors from the worlds of the arts, media, property, architecture and business. The jury will be chaired by Governor of the Museum of London and television and radio presenter, Evan Davis.

The jury comprises (in alphabetical order):

  • Sonita Alleyne, OBE, FRSA, Founder, The Yes Programme
  • Sharon Ament, Director, Museum of London
  • Clive Bannister, Chair, Museum of London Board of Governors and Group Chief Executive, Phoenix Group Holdings
  • David Camp, Governor, Museum of London and Chief Executive, Stanhope
  • Evan Davis, Governor, Museum of London and television and radio presenter (Jury Chair)
  • Dr Stephen Deuchar CBE, Director, Art Fund
  • Professor Robert  Mull, Architect, Former Director of Architecture and Dean of the Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, and Trustee of the Architecture Foundation
  • Lucy Musgrave, Director, Publica
  • Michelle Ogundehin, Editor-in-Chief, ELLE Decoration
  • Jörn Rausing, Governor, Museum of London

and

  • Malcolm Reading, Malcolm Reading Consultants (adviser to the jury)

Funded by the Mayor of London through a £200,000 grant, the competition is being run in accordance with European Union procurement guidelines under the Restricted Procedure.

The museum’s aim is to achieve planning permission, raise the necessary capital funds and deliver the new museum by 2021.

Full details of the competition are available on the dedicated website

read more….

MOL press release

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90,000 ‘considerate constructor’ registrations

The 90,000th registration under the Considerate Constructors Scheme has been achieved, in the nineteenth year of operation. 

The Considerate Constructors Scheme writes:
The Considerate Constructors Scheme – the national Scheme to improve the image of the construction industry – has reached a formidable milestone; registering 90,000 construction sites.  This historic registration was made by one of the country’s leading house builders Barratt London, for the high profile Nine Elms Point development in London.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive Edward Hardy commented:  The Scheme is immensely proud to reach this momentous milestone of 90,000 registered sites; it is a phenomenal achievement.  We are delighted to present Barratt London with the 90,000th Site Registration to mark this occasion. The collaboration on the Nine Elms Point site between Barratt London, Sainsbury’s and L&Q epitomises the value of working together to achieve even higher levels of performance as considerate constructors. Since the Scheme was first established 19 years ago, registered sites, clients, companies and suppliers have strived for ever better performance across all aspects of our Code of Considerate Practice. However, there are still huge amounts to be done, and we look forward to helping the industry raise these standards even further.

Barratt London is also working with Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd, who are the Considerate Constructors Scheme’s founder member Client Partner, and housing association L&Q to deliver 645 new homes, a new 80,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s store and 27,000 sq ft of local shops, restaurants and office space at Nine Elms Point.

Following its first registration in 1997, the Scheme has become an integral part of the construction landscape and a strongly recognisable sight with its banners and posters adorning hoardings throughout the country.  One of the very few organisations to be monitoring the industry’s progress and sharing best practice on-the-ground, the Scheme undertakes around 13,000 visits to sites, companies and suppliers per year. 

View the full press release

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City Deals: Inverness

Inverness is the latest city to gain City Deal status from the UK government initiative. 

The Scotland Office writes:
More than £300 million of public money will be provided to Inverness as part of a UK City Deal.  It aims to unlock a further £800 million of private money for the city and the surrounding region.

The UK City Deal will invest money in projects designed to help the economic growth of Inverness and the Highlands, and is expected to create more than 3,000 jobs over the next two decades.

UK Government Minister Andrew Dunlop was in Inverness today to announce details of the UK City Deal agreement which includes money from the UK Government, Scottish Government, Highland Council, the University of the Highlands and Islands and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

City Deals were created by the UK Government as a way to provide UK cities with the power and resources to unlock the economic potential of their city.

As part of the Inverness City Deal the UK Government is providing £53.1 million of new money for spending on areas that are the reserved responsibility of the UK Government. These include:

  • Enabling the Highland area to be the most digitally connected rural region in Europe by investing into extended digital coverage, including superfast broadband and mobile 4G connectivity across the Highlands region.
  • Supporting a package of new innovation measures that builds on existing academic and industry expertise in Inverness, as well as business support networks across the Highlands. This will include exploring ways to support a multi-disciplinary centre focused on the commercialisation of new medical products and technologies, and a Northern Scotland Innovation Hub.
  • Working to ensure business-friendly air routes to international hubs and improving access to London.

View the news release

IHBC NewsBlogs on City Deals

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IHBC SE Affiliates Membership Seminar: 20 April, Horsham

IHBC learning image

A new event to help support those who wish to apply for IHBC membership in the south east area has been arranged for by the Branch, to take place on 20 April in Horsham. 

Kate Kendall, IHBC’s ‘Learning, Education, Training & Standards’ (LETS) Liaison Officer writes:
Do you want to explore the IHBC full membership application but feel a little daunted by it? Have no fear the South East Branch is here to help!

A seminar is being held on the 20th April in Horsham to help guide you through the process. With advice and guidance from Kate Kendall from the National Office of the IHBC, and recent successful applicant and now full member Duncan Phillips, they will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

If you would like to book a place please CLICK HERE

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IHBC Updates: Reports & funding re museums etc. in Wales

Two news items affect the cultural heritage sector in Wales recently, with the findings of a new independent report on the future delivery of local museum services in Wales being accepted by the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism (Ken Skates) and £2.3 million being granted for improving museum, library and archive services across the country, which will also help in enhancing access to digital heritage resources.

The Welsh Government writes:
The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, yesterday agreed to develop the recommendations of an independent report on the future delivery of local museum services in Wales.

The Expert Review of Local Museum Provision in Wales was commissioned in autumn 2015 to look at the impact funding cuts and organisational changes by local authorities are having on local museums.  The panel produced their final report last August and set out ten recommendations for securing the future delivery of local museum services. 

The Deputy Minister has agreed to a range of measures and a refreshed Strategy for Museums in Wales will be developed to take these forward.  The actions include working with the sector to establish Collections Wales, to develop and safeguard collections across the country, and commissioning a review of museum entry charges to establish clarity for the sector and for visitors.  This will not change the Welsh Government’s policy of free entry to National Museums.

The Welsh Government will also work with the WLGA to look at the feasibility of creating Regional Bodies to provide operational direction, management and support for local museums. The steering group which oversaw the first national strategy for museums in the UK will also be developed to meet the recommendation to establish a national Museums’ Council.

The Deputy Minister said: ‘Local museums are assets to our communities. They are a great educational tool, providing hands on learning, with exhibitions that can be seen and touched. They bring our past to life. They’re also an important contribution to our tourism industry.  As most rely heavily on local authority budgets, this is a particularly vulnerable time for these institutions. I felt it was important we had clear recommendations on how local museums can continue to thrive in the face of decreasing budgets.  I am pleased that we are taking forward the recommendations of the review’s panel. This will require partnership working and a commitment from the whole sector. It’s also important to note the responsibility local authorities have to protect our heritage. We expect them to set out their intentions for museum services and consider all options when reviewing their funding for these important services.’

View the press release on the museum report

View the press release on museum funding

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ICOMOS World Heritage Day 2016 events: 18 April: And let IHBC know of yours!

This year the ICOMOS International Day on Monuments and Sites is celebrated on 18 April, with various events happening worldwide (some along the theme of sport, which is this year’s theme) while as ever the IHBC can add events to our sector calendar so if you know of any related events help let others know about them by letting us know: just email our Support Officer Carla Pianese at support@ihbc.org.uk 

ICOMOS writes:
The 2016 theme for the ICOMOS International Day on Monuments and Sites celebrated on 18 April is: The Heritage of Sport. ‘Sport is part of every man and woman’s heritage and its absence can never be compensated for’ – Pierre de Coubertin.

The Olympic Games will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August 2016. ICOMOS wishes to dedicate the 2016 International Day for Monuments and Sites to the heritage of sports, since sports have developed from the origin of mankind onwards and have left testimonies to the diversity of installations and facilities related to their practice, many of them bearing outstanding values related to the development of architecture, art and techniques.

The history of sports extends as far back as the most ancients cultures in the world and can teach about social practices and how the human being has developed particular skills. Prehistoric cave paintings in several regions show scenes related to sprinting, wrestling and swimming. Several types of ball games, as well as various sports such as wrestling, swimming, rowing, and athletics were already well established in ancient Egypt, as evidenced by the monuments of this civilization. Ancient Greece saw the first formal institutionalisation of sports, notably through the Olympic Games, the first of which were recorded in 776 BC and continued to be celebrated until 393 AD in Olympia.

Since the Middle Ages, whole village communities in England and Ireland have competed with each other in rough ballgames, whilst in Florence the practice of Calcio fiorentino was originally limited to the aristocracy. Combat sports such as fencing and jousting received the patronage of the aristocracy throughout Europe.  Whilst there is debate on the origin of modern team sports, particular sports were spread around the world by European colonialism. With the increase in leisure time brought about by the advent of the industrial era, sport became less elitist and more accessible. From 1896 onwards, the modern Olympic Games, together with the Football World Cup whose first edition took place in 1930, have become two of the most important events at the international level. Certain tennis and motor racing competitions also attract a large public interest.

The practice of sports has led to the creation of specific facilities (stadia, grounds, circuits, courts, etc.), which not only bear witness to the development of the sports themselves but also to the evolution of architectural design, use of technology and aesthetic expression over time. From Greek and Roman stadia or pre-Hispanic ball courts in Middle-America to modern high-tech installations now found worldwide, many of these buildings and ensembles carry significant values related to history, architecture and techniques and have become part of our cultural heritage. In other cases, sporting activities involved the special use of particular urban spaces or territories. Many of these places are protected or included in protected sites or areas, whilst others are unfortunately not recognized as heritage components and subject to neglect and decay.

Dedicating the 18 April 2016 to the heritage of sports has the purpose of celebrating the role of sports in the improvement of human life through the recognition and enhancement of specific types of monuments and sites; raising awareness on their values and the role they hold in shaping the cultural identity of concerned communities, at national, regional or local levels.

View the news release

Find out about events

Submit events to ICOMOS 

Tweet your event with the ?#IDMS (for International Day for Monuments and Sites)!

View information about events in Edinburgh

Email IHBC’s Support Officer Carla Pianese at support@ihbc.org.uk

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Europa Nostra prizewinners include four UK projects, opening public vote for people’s choice

The winners of the prestigious EU Europa Nostra prize have been announced, with 2016 bringing 28 winners from 16 countries, including four from the UK (English Heritage’s Heritage Schools Initiative, Cambridgeshire’s Wimpole Hall, a University of Cambridge rock art research project and Knockando Woolmill in Scotland) as Europa Nostra now invites votes on the ‘public choice’ project. 

Europa Nostra writes:
The European Commission and Europa Nostra today revealed the winners of the 2016 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s highest honour in the heritage field. The 28 laureates from 16 countries have been recognised for their exemplary achievements in conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness-raising. Independent expert juries assessed a total of 187 applications, submitted by organisations and individuals from 36 countries across Europe, and selected the winners. Citizens from around the world can now vote online for the Public Choice Award and mobilise support for the award-winning project(s) from their own or another European country.

The projects chosen by the juries are excellent examples of creativity, innovation, sustainable development and social participation in the heritage field throughout Europe. Among the remarkable initiatives awarded in 2016 are: the renovation of a suspended walkway built on the steep sides of a gorge which has opened up an area of phenomenal natural beauty to all visitors, thus attracting a new wave of tourism to the region (Spain); the development of an industrial style of digitisation which resulted in the digitisation of nearly 9 million zoological, botanical and geological specimens, from across Europe and beyond, of tremendous value to researchers everywhere (the Netherlands); the efforts of the employees of a national museum who worked hard and without pay for three years in order to keep the museum active in a difficult political situation, as well as of the activists who assisted them (Bosnia and Herzegovina); and an awareness-raising project which encourages citizens to ‘adopt’ monuments of cultural and historic significance in their communities, to care for them and to put them back into use (Finland). For the first time, an Award has also been presented to an outstanding project from Iceland: the rehabilitation and conversion of the French Hospital in Faskrudsfjordur into a museum.

‘I warmly congratulate the winners and their teams for their exceptional work. Thanks to their talent and commitment, numerous European cultural heritage treasures have been safeguarded and revitalised for the benefit of present and future generations. Their projects raise awareness of cultural heritage as a strategic resource for Europe’s society and economy. Cultural heritage unites people, builds bridges between the past, the present and the future. At the same time, it generates economic growth, promotes sustainable development and fosters social participation and inclusion – which is today more vital than ever. That is why we support this Awards scheme and other heritage projects through our Creative Europe programme and will continue to do so,’ stated Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

‘All these award-winning achievements prove that heritage matters to Europe and its citizens. Cultural heritage is a driver for sustainable economic development and a cohesive force for our multicultural societies, as has been widely acknowledged by EU Institutions and is clearly demonstrated in the recent report ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’. I am delighted that this year’s Awards Ceremony will take place in my native town Madrid, in particular at a location with such a special heritage as the Zarzuela Theatre,’ added Plácido Domingo, the renowned opera singer and President of Europa Nostra.

The winners of the European Heritage Awards 2016 will be celebrated during a high-profile event co-hosted by EU Commissioner Navracsics and Maestro Plácido Domingo on the evening of 24 May at the historic Zarzuela Theatre in Madrid. The European Heritage Awards Ceremony will assemble up to 1,000 people, including heritage professionals, volunteers and supporters from all over Europe as well as top-level representatives from EU institutions, the host country and other Member States. During the ceremony, the seven Grand Prix laureates, each of whom will receive €10,000, and the Public Choice Award winner, chosen from among this year’s winning projects, will be announced.

The winners will also present their remarkable heritage accomplishments during the Excellence Fair on the morning of 24 May at the headquarters of the College of Architects of Madrid and participate in various networking events to be held during the European Heritage Congress in Madrid (22-27 May) organised by Europa Nostra in the framework of its network project ‘Mainstreaming Heritage’, which has the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. 

View the press release

View the Historic England press release on the Heritage Schools award

View information about Wimpole Hall

View information about Knockando

View information on the Rock Art research project

Vote in the People’s Choice

IHBC Awards etc

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NHTG seeks Specialist Heritage Contractors for Traditional Skills Bursary Placements

The NHTG is looking for assistance from specialist heritage contractors in England who may be able to offer opportunities for traditional skills training. 

NHTG writes:
The NHTG is seeking specialist heritage contractors who would like to offer a traditional skills training bursary, and are especially searching for long term (12 month) placements where the trainee can achieve a level 3 Heritage NVQ

As one of the 39 successful Projects in the second £25 million Heritage Lottery Fund Skills for the Future programme, the National Heritage Training Group have been awarded £779,200 funding to provide high quality, work-based training and skills development opportunities to equip people for a career in the built heritage sector or for those already working in the sector to expand and improve their knowledge and skills sets.

This Project Building Traditional Skills, Resilience and Community will be achieved by working with Construction Trade Federations, Specialist Contractors and Regional Partners in England to offer:

  • variable-length traditional building craft skills bursary placements
  • 100 delegates (including 30 Bursary Holders) attending the 2 day course to achieve the Level 3 Award in Understanding Repair and Maintenance of Traditional Pre-1919 Buildings
  • 10 Heritage Specialist Apprenticeships
  • 20 Level 3 NVQ Diplomas in Heritage Skills
  • 10 Mentors to train and undertake a scheme to pass on their skills and knowledge to develop the abilities of less experienced trades people

Training and live site-based work experience is the largest element of this Project and will be available for new entrants, career changers and those looking to up-skill from mainstream construction. This therefore provides a spectrum of learning and training covering beginners to the pinnacle of higher crafts status, as well as helping those who wish to progress to site supervision and management roles within this sector. The placements are intended to be stimulating and rewarding opportunities, both for the Bursary Holder and the Placement Provider.

If you think you can offer a placement or for more information please contact National Project Manager: Graham Lee at graham.lee@thebcc.ac.uk

View more information about NHTG

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National parks: 8-point plan for England (2016-20)

A new plan produced in partnership with England’s National Parks sets out how government intends to protect, promote and enhance National Parks in England from now until 2020.

Defra writes:
This 8-point plan sets out our priorities for improving National Parks in England over the period from 2016 until 2020.

It includes plans to connect more young people to the environment through National Parks, and to increase visitor numbers. The plan also includes plans to develop apprenticeships through National Park Authorities, and to protect and enhance the natural environment.

read more….

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Gauging sustainability: Sustainable Development Commission

A new industry-led commission, The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), has been set up by IHBC 2016 Annual School sponsor Iceni Projects to establish a ‘clear-cut’ set of guidelines for gauging the sustainability credentials of developments.

The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) will evaluate social, economic and environmental factors and produce a universal ‘scorecard’ to be used in assessing projects, and will include a wide spectrum of organisations representing interests from both residential and commercial developments.

The group includes representatives from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Birmingham City Council, Cherwell District Council, South Northamptonshire Council, Land Securities, Crest Nicholson and law firm Dentons.

The Commission is being chaired by ex-MP Nick Raynsford. Janet Askew, immediate past President of the RTPI, is on the Commission’s panel.

More information on the SDC

Planning Portal article

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World Heritage UK conference: Caernarfon, October – with the ‘Weeping window too…

The Welsh Government has outlined the benefits of the UK World Heritage conference being hosted in Caernarfon, following 30 years of WHS status at this site. 

The Welsh Government writes:
Wales will host the World Heritage UK conference this autumn, providing a unique opportunity to highlight its world-class cultural offer.

The conference will be held in Caernarfon, which forms part of the Castles and Walled Towns of King Edward in Gwynedd World Heritage Site. It will be a key part of the celebrations to mark 30-years since securing international World Heritage status.

The prestigious event will take place in October, the same time as Caernarfon Castle will be hosting the iconic Weeping Window poppy display, which formed part of the original poppy display at the Tower of London to mark the centenary of the First World War.

The conference will be an opportunity to highlight how versatile these important monuments are for local communities and highlight other key heritage sites across Wales.

The Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates said:  ‘I am delighted that the World Heritage UK conference is coming to north Wales this autumn. We have a rich and diverse heritage in Wales and this is a great opportunity to celebrate and showcase our cultural assets on an international stage.  With up to 100 delegates from across the UK expected to attend, this event promises to raise the profile of the region and Wales and bring a significant boost to the local economy. We are also working to include key sites, such as our castles and other local attractions on the itinerary and highlight Wales’ fantastic tourism offer.’

Sam Rose, Chair of World Heritage UK, added: ‘This conference will help World Heritage UK in achieving its aims to promote and raise awareness of the 29 world heritage sites at home and abroad. At Caernarfon, we will bring together all the heritage agencies and interested parties to better look after these special places for future generations and we are especially looking forward to having the conference in Wales.’

View the press release

View more information about World Heritage UK

IHBC NewsBlogs on WHS issues

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Opportunity: Near Neighbours – new £1.5m grants, DCLG and CUF

The Church Urban Fund (CUF) and The Department for Communities and Local Government DCLG have launched a £1.5 million grants scheme aimed at helping diverse communities get together and build understanding through joint projects, offering opportunities if you know of a heritage related project that could benefit from the Near Neighbours programme? 

The Church Urban Fund writes:
The government today announced that £1.5 million has been awarded to the ground-breaking Near Neighbours programme to build relationships between different communities to address hate, fear, and the voices of division.  The Near Neighbours programme has received a third round of funding after two successful phases of funds from the government have been used to transform communities and promote the view that we can live well together.

The Near Neighbours grants fund has awarded seed capital worth £3.66m to over 1,120 projects. These projects have impacted the lives of 941,000 people and 71% of projects have continued to run after the initial seed capital was spent.  All Near Neighbours projects are designed to change hearts and minds by bringing together different communities within a neighbourhood so that they can work together on issues of shared concern and common values.

In tackling voices of hate, projects work across a variety of pressing social needs and issues including employment skills, environmental work, homelessness, and healthy eating, with 53% of projects providing new skills to the unemployed and 33% offering important social support to refugees.  The latest wave of funding will be used to continue the work in communities by providing further support and grants. 

One programme participant spoke to the effectiveness of Near Neighbours, ‘You cannot have a more peaceful project in the country. Programmes like this will change people. It is the biggest investment for the future. Every community where people are sitting down and knitting together, eating together, singing together will not have tension in it.’ 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: ‘I am delighted that the government has provided Near Neighbours with the funding to start its third phase of work. The innovative, collaborative and inspiring work of Near Neighbours has enabled diverse local communities across the country to work and live together effectively, but more importantly, it has enabled community relationships and friendships to blossom.  As Christians we have been celebrating Easter with its message of hope and reconciliation for all people. We are committed to working with others of faith or no faith to see the transformation and restoration of our local communities. It is this vitality that makes me excited for the future of Near Neighbours.’ 

Communities Minister Baroness Williams said: ‘Local people are best placed to know how they want their neighbourhoods to improve and Near Neighbours has a great track record in encouraging individuals from different backgrounds, faiths and cultures to come together on the issues and concerns that are most important to them.  This new funding is a great boost to the important work Near Neighbours does to build stronger local ties, mutual understanding and respect to make our neighbourhoods even better places to live.’

The Near Neighbours programme is administered by the Church Urban Fund and CUF Executive Chair and Near Neighbours trustee, Paul Hackwood commented ‘Near Neighbours has created a new way of doing community in England that sees neighbours stand up to voices of hate and insist on a new narrative that rejects violence in favour of peace. I’m excited to see that work continue for a further year as we reach further into England’s communities.’ 

Rabbi Natan Levy, an advisor to the Near Neighbours programme and commented: ‘The Jewish community warmly welcomes the continuation of the Near Neighbours Programme.  Minority groups, like our own, can often turn inward in this age of increasing tension, and programmes that gently nudge us to engage with people, cultures and faiths that are different than us, are simply vital.  Near Neigbhours builds robust bridges where there was once only chasms of mistrust. Near Neigbours programmes are the ‘still small voice’ of local change, offering tremendous seeds of hope.  I’ve had the opportunity to work first hand with numerous Near Neighbours projects, from interfaith young women learning computer coding with Twitter engineers, to transformative youth group workshops that tackle the hard issues, Near Neighbours is a blessing to our Jewish community, and the catalyst towards a safer, kinder, and profoundly more enriched United Kingdom.’ 

Chair of Near Neighbours trustees, Baroness Eaton said: ‘Near Neighbours is doing an excellent job of reaching deep into the heart of communities and this funding is going to be invaluable in reaching more people and enabling them to take action together in their communities.’

Dilwar Hussein is a Near Neighbours advisor and commented: ‘I’m very happy to hear that the Near Neighbours programme has been awarded a third round of funding. This work is vital in bringing people together at a time of extreme anxiety, to bridge divides and challenge narratives of hatred and division.  Near Neighbours manages to reach right into the heart of communities, where people are working at the coal face of relationship building. I look forward to the programme expanding and reaching even more people’.

View the press release

Find out more about Near Neighbours and the funding criteria

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Celebrating Great Northern culture, art and design

Local Authorities across the North of England are being asked to submit bids to host the 2018 Great Exhibition of the North, which is designed to celebrate the culture of the North East, North West and Yorkshire, with the competition closing in June and the winner being announced in Autumn 2016. 

DCMS writes:
Towns and cities across the North are invited to bid to put on the two-month exhibition, celebrating the best of art, culture and design.

The competition to host the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018 has opened, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey announced today.  Towns and cities across the North East, North West and Yorkshire are invited to bid to put on the two-month exhibition, which will celebrate the best of art, culture and design across the northern regions.

The Government is contributing £5 million towards the exhibition itself and a further £15 million into a legacy fund to attract further cultural investment in the Northern Powerhouse.  The exhibition will showcase the great creative and cultural sectors across the North, to help boost the economy in the region.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: ‘The Great Exhibition of North is a fantastic opportunity to promote the very best of Northern art, culture and design.  Investment in our arts and culture not only benefits these sectors but, as we have seen from Hull being named UK City of Culture 2017, can drive regeneration of whole towns and cities.’

The competition will close in June this year and the chosen venue will be announced in the Autumn.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, has been appointed by the Chancellor George Osborne to chair the Great Exhibition Board that will report to Ministers on the applications.  Sir Gary said: ‘There are many towns and cities across the North of England that have what it takes to host the Great Exhibition of the North and I hope that many of them put in a bid.  We will be showcasing our art, design and culture to the world in 2018 and high quality bids are an essential part of ensuring that we deliver an incredible Great Exhibition.’

For more information please email great-exhibition@culture.gov.uk

View the press release

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