New Chair of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE)

The new chair of the CFCE has been announced as Dame Fiona Reynolds. 

The Church of England writes:
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, after consultation with the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, have appointed Dame Fiona Reynolds to be Chair of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE), it has been announced today. She succeeds RT Hon Frank Field MP, who is standing down after serving two terms and ten years as chair, and over seen a period of creative conservation and development of the Church of England’s 42 cathedrals as well as the award by the Government of the £20m WW1 Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund for essential repair works to cathedrals.

The CFCE is the national body overseeing the management of conservation and development of the Church’s cathedrals.  Dame Fiona was director of the National Trust from 2001-2012 before becoming Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

Speaking about her appointment Dame Fiona said: ‘I am honoured and delighted to accept the role of Chair of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England.  I have loved and been inspired by the English Cathedrals all my life, and will relish the opportunity to work more closely with Deans, the team at Church House and the many other organisations and individuals who cherish them.  I look forward in particular to being part of the strategic thinking that will take place, not only about the stewardship of these remarkable buildings, but their place in today’s society.’

The Bishop of Worcester, John Inge, lead bishop for cathedrals and church buildings, said: ‘I am delighted that Dame Fiona has accepted the invitation of the archbishops to take over the chair of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission in succession to Frank Field, as are the members and staff of the Commission. Dame Fiona established a formidable reputation whilst Chief Executive of the National Trust through her success in transforming that great institution for the better. We are very fortunate that she is willing to bring her expertise, vision, advocacy skills and enthusiasm to bear upon our forty-two Cathedrals in England. They are the jewel in the crown of our cultural heritage and, more than that, are living buildings which contribute an enormous amount to the common good.’

View the press release and a full biography of Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE

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Stone theft: Commons discussion, and appeal for information

Jason McCartney (conservative MP for the Colne Valley) was granted an adjournment debate on stone theft recently, praising the role of West Yorkshire police in tackling heritage thefts in his constituency but also highlighting the increasing danger posed by heritage crime.

The debate discussed recent higher profile cases across different constituencies, the effect of recent scrap metal salvage rulings on addressing heritage crime for this material and highlighting the importance of The Crown Prosecution Service (with 14 specialised prosecutors).

The motion which the house agreed statedWe must highlight to our communities that it is their job, as well as the police’s job, to ensure that we catch the criminals in question, that they are prosecuted and that the full force of the law comes down on them’ (column 734). 

View the full Hansard debate text (beginning at column 728)

View West Yorkshire Police information in a Facebook post on stone theft as part of the ‘Yorkshire Stone…..Once it’s gone, it’s gone’ awareness campaign

North Yorkshire Police appeal for information on heritage crime

IHBC NewsBlogs on heritage crime

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SG open data strategy consultation: closes 13 July

The Scottish Government are working on digital data information and statistics on the availability of government data, and are seeking new ideas for datasets which would be useful, in a consultation which runs until 13 July.

If you are interested in accessing statistics and government information online you may wish to contribute to a new Scottish Government project which is seeking ideas for data which should be easily accessible online.

Current ideas relating to the built environment include publishing digital feeds of Planning applications, mapping the boundaries of common good land and assets, and full disclosure of Local Authority land registers of assets.

The Scottish Government writes:
As part of our Open Data Strategy we are creating a resource pack to support Scottish public services develop their own open data strategies. The resource pack will be a living document which will include guidance, case studies and examples of best practice.

To help us develop the resource pack we want to know what data you’d like to access from Scottish public services, what you might use the data for and in which formats you’d like to see the data published.  Please select the ‘Submit an idea’ button in the right-hand column to make suggestions.

Many public sector organisations collect and process a wide range of information. Much of this information relates to non-personal and non-commercially sensitive data which could be published and made available for others to re-use. We call this making data open.

Open data is the release of non-personal and non-commercially sensitive data to the public. It is easily discoverable, which makes it accessible to anyone and able to be freely used, re-used and redistributed.  Open Data is made available, via the internet, in an open electronic format which supports its ready re-use.

The Open Data Strategy seeks to create a Scotland where non-personal and non-commercially sensitive data ranging across activity delivered by and for the public sector including but not exclusively, environment, finance and social services is recognised as a resource for wider societal use and as such is made open in an intelligent manner and available for re-use by others. Making data open will support:

1) Delivery of improved public services through public bodies making use of the data

2) Wider social and economic benefits through innovative use of the data

3) Accountability and transparency of delivery of our public services

The Scottish Government will share a report after the conclusion of this 5 week exercise. Depending on the level of responses we aim to publish our report by 28th August 2015. This report will be made available publically and promoted.

All submissions are subject to our moderation policy.

View more information about the project, submit ideas and vote for your preferred projects

More information on the Scottish Government’s Open Data Strategy

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Research Opportunities: Industrial/engineering heritage + urbanism

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 currently have a number of heritage related research vacancies advertised (various closing dates).

The latest opportunities include:

  • Brunel Fellowship- for qualified engineering researchers
  • Industrial fellowships- engineering, science or medicine
  • Industrial design studentships
  • 1851 Built Environment Fellow- cycling and urbanism

View more information

IHBC listings of awards, bursaries etc

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IHBC NI Branch on ‘Conservation without frontiers’

IHBC Northern Ireland Branch Chairman Andrew McClelland – also a member of the IHBC’s new Council+ structure – recently presented at the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society and Irish Georgian Society Summer School on ‘Conservation without Frontiers’.

Andrew McClelland said ‘There are a number of thematic areas where central and local government, NGOs and professional bodies could work more closely together on a cross border basis on the island of Ireland to strengthen heritage conservation policies and practices in the face of ongoing challenges, particularly in the Irish Border Region. This includes in cultural tourism, traditional building skills training, strategic development projects such as greenways, and dataset mapping and shared digital inventorying’

View Andrew’s presentation online

More information about the UAHS summer school

IHBC NI Branch

IHBC Republic of Ireland Branch

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IHBC Context article on application of BS 7913: Cases sought

BS 7913 front coverIHBC Trustee and consultant, and lead author on the British Standard 7913, on historic building conservation, John Edwards, is preparing an article on the practical application of the Standard, and is seeking examples where the document – either in its current (2103) or earlier (19xx) form – has been useful to IHBC members and colleagues.

John Edwards said: ‘BS 7913 is about driving up standards and consistency for everyone involved with older buildings and by highlighting how useful it is we can ensure even greater use of this important standard’.

Any suggestions for examples may be sent to John at john@edwardshart.co.uk

Members may also be interested to note that another course on the application of BS 7913 will take place in Birmingham on 5 October, following two successful events in London and Manchester at which the IHBC hosted its services.

For details on purchasing the IHBC-branded, low-cost copy of BS 7913, with laminated pages making it especially suitable for heavy use on site, see http://ihbc.org.uk/bs/

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Prestigious Fortress Study Group award for Belfast’s  Grey Point Fort

A fort near Belfast is to be the first site in Northern Ireland and the third in the British Isles to receive a Fortress Study Group award for conservation. 

The Department of the Environment Northern Ireland (DoENI) writes:
Grey Point Fort will on Saturday receive the Fortress Study Group (FSG), Pembroke College, Oxford award in recognition of the restoration and reuse of this unique State Care Monument.

This award is only the third site in the British Isles to be presented, and a first for Northern Ireland.

At a special event to mark the occasion the firing of one of the Fort’s restored coastal battery guns will take place at approximately noon on Saturday.

The Fortress Study Group is an international society concerned with all aspects of military architecture, fortifications and their armaments especially works constructed to mount and resist artillery worldwide.

Environment Minister Mark. H Durkan speaking about the significance of the Fort and its legacy said: ‘2014-18 is a particularly poignant time, marking the centenary of the First World War, a major event in world history that is directly connected to the history of Grey Point Fort.

‘Recent works at the site have included a community excavation late last year with over 200 local school children participating. This helped gather more detail about the training trenches, unearthed a machine-gun nest and the remains of barbed wire entanglements which will enhance visitors’ understanding and interpretation. Further conservation works are planned for this year.

‘This prestigious award, only the third to be awarded on these islands and a first for here, is clear recognition of the commitment that my Department, and particularly local volunteers and the community have for Grey Point Fort. It demonstrates the very powerful positive effect of greater community involvement in the active use and preservation of our rich built heritage.

‘Further, on Sunday the Fort provides an excellent vantage point for people to view the spectacle of the Tall Ship Parade of Sails. The flotilla on their journey to Whitehead leaves Belfast around midday. It will also afford visitors and enthusiasts the opportunity to explore and engage with the many exhibitions and stalls at the Fort.’

View the news release

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TCPA: People should be the heart of planning!

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has released a report recommending changes to the planning system, moving away from an economic centred approach to place people at the heart of the process. 

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) writes:
The planning system was invented to help provide a good home, for everyone, in a healthy, thriving place. But in the last few decades something has gone badly wrong. Instead of having people’s welfare as its priority, nowadays the English planning system puts economic growth above all else.

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) believes that this must change, and has today launched a radical new manifesto that seeks to put people back at the heart of planning.

Speaking today at the launch of the manifesto, at Queen’s University, Belfast, Dr Hugh Ellis, Head of Policy for the TCPA said: ‘We all care about the quality of our lives and condition of our communities. People need decent healthcare, schools, jobs, public transport, green spaces, locally grown food, low-carbon energy, affordable homes which are accessible and have enough space for kids to play, a creative culture, vibrant sports and the arts. These are all things that make life worth living. These are the things that all sections of society should be able to enjoy as a matter of course regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. These are the foundations of the good society. These are the things that planning can, and should, make happen.  As we strive to put people back at the heart of planning, we are inviting organisations and individuals who, like us, think that the aim of planning should be to improve people’s lives, to sign up to support the manifesto.’

The Planning4People Manifesto which forms part of a year-long collaboration between the TCPA and the Webb Memorial Trust sets out what planning should be, highlighting the need to place people at the heart of planning proses and to emphasise social justice as a key outcome.

The manifesto also includes a number of key asks of Government, including the establishment of new national minimum standards for housing with mandatory minimum standards for accessibility and space.

View the press release

View the manifesto

IHBC newsblogs on planning and community engagement

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HLF funding: £34m for 16 parks

Sixteen parks across the UK are celebrating their share of £34 million of Heritage Lottery Fund awards this week. 

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) writes:
16 of the UK’s parks and cemeteries have received a much-needed £34million boost from the National Lottery and this month also sees the opening of Cardiff’s Bute Park.

The money will fix pavilions, bandstands and boathouses and spruce up these tired but important green spaces. An elaborate and unusual water gardens in Great Yarmouth and Belfast’s city cemetery are among the projects that will receive the cash.

HLF’s Chair Sir Peter Luff, on behalf of HLF and the Big Lottery Fund, said: ‘We love our parks but many of them have been around a long while and are in need of urgent attention. This money will make sure that people can enjoy them properly again, helping to give them a great future.’

Heritage Minister, Tracey Crouch, said: ‘This investment will breathe new life into each of these 16 historic parks, making them great places for people to enjoy. Britain’s famous green spaces are so important for giving people a place to get together, relax and exercise, and have a vital role in strengthening our local communities.’

The 16 parks and cemeteries receiving funding today are:

  • HLF/Big Lottery Fund joint grants in England Earmarked funding
  • West Smethwick Park, Sandwell £4,830,700
  • Victoria Park, Stafford £1,705,100
  • Hunstanton Heritage Gardens, West Norfolk £685,400
  • Great Yarmouth Venetian Waterways £1,020,800
  • Springfield Park, Hackney £3,194,100
  • Thompson Park, Burnley £860,100
  • London Road Cemetery, Coventry £1,998,000
  • Confirmed grants
  • Chase Park, Gateshead £922,900
  • Peel Park, Salford £1,572,800
  • Winckley Square Gardens, Preston £942,600
  • Northwood Cemetery, Isle of Wight £1,685,100
  • Hanley Park, Stoke on Trent £4,579,300
  • HLF only funded grants
  • Belfast Cemetery (earmarked funding) £1,852,800
  • Stornoway Castle Grounds £3,903,600
  • Dean Castle Country Park, East Ayrshire £3,338,900
  • Wrexham Cemetery £1,190,000 

June also sees the opening of Cardiff’s Bute Park following £3.1m of HLF funding. This investment has meant there’s a fabulous new Summerhouse café to help refresh the locals and bring in income, the park’s quirky ‘animal wall’ is back to its former glory and a new education centre has been built from reclaimed bricks. Thanks to National Lottery players’ investment, annual visitor numbers have rocketed to over 2million since the project began and this stunning park now sits within Cardiff’s top attractions on TripAdvisor.

Mike Harper, Chair of the Bute Park Friends Group said: ‘Bute Park is a jewel in the crown for Cardiff and to see the recent investment into its improvement is hugely welcomed by all the many residents and visitors who enjoy the park day in day out.’

IHBC newsblogs on funding 

IHBC newsblogs on historic parks and gardens

HLF news

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Scottish Empty Homes Partnership to help High Street

The Scottish Government has announced a new £4 million fund to help re-use of high street spaces and homes. 

The Scottish Government writes:
A new £4 million fund will help bring abandoned homes and empty high street spaces back to life, Housing Minister Margaret Burgess announced recently.

The Scottish Government’s Town Centre Empty Homes Fund will help revamp empty homes and convert derelict commercial spaces into new affordable homes.  Registered social landlords and developers can apply for funding, which will be administered by the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership.  The Partnership, which is run by the housing charity Shelter Scotland, works with councils to help bring empty private-sector homes back into use.

Since 2010, the partnership has brought over 900 homes back into use and encouraged 17 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities to appoint dedicated empty homes officers.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: ‘Town centres are a key element of the economic, social and environmental fabric of Scotland’s towns.  We want town centres to thrive sustainably and meet the needs of residents, businesses and visitors.  Good quality, affordable housing is at the heart of this vision and transforming empty, disused spaces into comfortable homes makes sense.  There are an estimated 27,000 long-term private empty homes in Scotland and it makes sense to make the best use possible of these properties when homelessness still exists.’

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: ‘Many of the 27,000 long-term empty homes across Scotland lie in our town centres and are a blight on many neighbourhoods. Bringing them back into use with the help of this fund will be welcome news not only to the 150,500 families and individuals on waiting lists but also those in the private rented sector looking for affordable homes.

‘Making use of existing housing stock can make a real difference to people and communities. Because of their location, town centre empty homes are already well linked to employment opportunities and support services, making them places that people want to live.’

Members of the public can phone a free helpline to report empty homes in their communities, contributing to bringing them back into use. The public can report an empty home by calling 0344 515 1941.

The announcement comes as people across Scotland are being asked to take part in a national discussion about how the country can be a fairer and more equal place to live, covering topics including access to affordable housing.

View the news release

IHBC NewsBlogs on funding

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Wales: Monument grant awards

The latest round of ancient monuments grant funding have now been awarded by Cadw. 

Cadwy writes:
Precious ancient monuments and war memorials across Wales are being awarded a share of almost £287,000 of Welsh Government funding to restore and protect them for future generations.

Many of Wales’ ancient monuments are on privately owned land. These grants provide an incentive for landowners and occupiers to carry out repair work that may otherwise be left ignored, resulting in the loss of important parts of our heritage which help tell the story of our past.

The grants include almost £33,500 for Kendricks Cave in Conwy, one of the most important Palaeolithic cave sites in North West Europe. Rare artefacts recovered during excavations of the cave include a decorated horse jawbone, a find of international significance.

Recently the local town council have raised concerns about damage and anti-social behaviour around the site, and an inspection found the cave to be in an unpleasant state, filled with waste, including discarded needles.

The grant will fund the clearance and cleaning of the cave and secure it from further damage by installing security grilles, with lockable doors. It will also fund the creation of a 3D digital model of the cave to be displayed at Llandudno Museum and the Great Orme Visitor Centre to improve public understanding of the cave and its prehistoric origins.

Announcing the funds, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said: ‘All over Wales our landscape is scattered with ancient monuments which shape our communities and tell the story of our past. Without the right protection and management these precious monuments could be lost forever.

‘I recently introduced the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill which will legislate to better care and protect our important historic buildings and monuments. I am pleased that through these grants we are already supporting conservation projects across Wales which will lead the way in protecting our past for the Wales of tomorrow.’

Other projects awarded grants include maintaining the public access to Owain Glyndwr’s mount, work to support structural repairs to Llandaff Cathedral and work to preserve Neath War Memorial Clock and Bells.

View the news release

IHBC newsblogs on funding

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LGA on housing: ‘Councils are key

The new Conservative Chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned of a construction skills shortage affecting housing supply, urging devolving of powers to local authorities to help address this issue. 

The Local Government Association (LGA) writes:
Councils hold the key to ending the nation’s housing crisis and ensuring the Government’s pledge to build 275,000 affordable homes by 2020 is met, the new leader of local government in England and Wales will say today (30/6).

Cllr Gary Porter will use his first keynote address as the Conservative Chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA) to warn of a growing skills shortage in the construction industry which is holding back vital housebuilding.

Cllr Porter will also use his speech to more than 1,400 local government leaders, councillors and government ministers, at the first day of the LGA’s Annual Conference, to call for an end to restrictions hampering council efforts to build desperately-needed homes.

Demand for skills within the construction industry is up 54 per cent since 2013. However, there are 58 per cent fewer completed construction apprenticeships today than in 2009.

Councils warn this mismatch risks resulting in the construction industry being left without the skilled employees needed to deliver on the Government’s ambitions for housebuilding.

To solve this crisis, the LGA wants funding and responsibilities over employment and skills services to be devolved to local areas.

This would allow councils, schools, colleges and employers to work together and ensure young people and the unemployed develop the vital skills to build, essential for creating the homes and jobs our communities need.

IHBC NewsBlogs on housing

UK Local Gov news

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HE: Assessing community-led research survey

Historic England has commissioned new research on how much archaeology, historic building and local history research is carried out by voluntary groups in England in a survey that closes on 21 August.

Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service writes:
The project will also assess the value or potential value this research has for enhancing Historic Environment Records (HERs) and Research Frameworks, which have to date often been poorer in their coverage of historic buildings than in other aspects of the historic environment.

We would particularly value the contribution of IHBC members who have worked with voluntary groups to this online survey, and would be grateful if members could pass it on to relevant recipients. The responses will enable us to better understand the contribution of such efforts to heritage research, and to make sure that local history, historic building and archaeological research is better valued.

There’s more information on the project, including definitions of what we’d like to hear about, at http://community-heritage-research.blogspot.co.uk/

Survey link

You can also complete the survey by post – please contact Rob Hedge on 01905 765654.

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£1Million est. of salaries on IHBC’s ‘Jobs etc’, (nearly)!

The IHBC’s ‘Jobs etc’ page has had another exceptional week, as it is currently advertising a range of jobs offering total salaries of some £987,673 – including £180,000 estimated for 6 posts – across 31 full and part-time jobs, and for roles that range from surveying to projects and facilities management as well as more traditional posts such as conservation officers, architects and managers with heritage specialisation.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘Of course the posts we’re advertising range widely across the specialist jobs market, so no-one should think that it’s not still a tough time for the sector, or that local authority capacity is not continuing to endure its crisis.’

‘For example we’ll have a new Research Note update coming out soon on our monitoring of local authority conservation jobs, carried out by Bob Kindred, our Research Consultant, which will offer a critical perspective on the situation there.’

‘All that said, it is of course great to see that the institute’s members and networks continuing to demonstrate the right skills, knowledge and experience to attract employers.  Clearly the advertisers have huge regard for our networks and the way we can help them maintain credible corporate and business credentials, while also recognising the incredibly good value that we offer for our services: all from as little as £280 for charities coming to us direct, including web design!’

See the IHBC ‘Jobs etc’ service

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IHBC launches ‘Toolbox’, stage 2: The Home Page, but ‘Beta’

Toolbox Homepage imageThe IHBC has just launched the next stage in the evolution of its practitioner support ‘toolbox’, an integrated online resource for built and historic environment conservation practice that, with the new Beta (developing) Home Page, now offers easy-to-follow links – like trays and compartments in a toolbox – so that busy conservation practitioners can find their way through the huge diversity of resources shaping built and historic environment conservation.

IHBC President Trefor Thorpe said: ‘The launch of this Beta Home Page in our evolving ‘Toolbox’ marks the point at which practitioners and the wider public can see how the system will operate.  Already it’s giving direct access to entire new bodies of information developed by the IHBC for the sector – including especially new resources such as our own research publishing programme of ‘Research Notes’ and our practice-based ‘Guidance Notes’ – as well as easing access to longstanding resources such as our consultation responses.  And this is still only the start’.

IHBC Chair Mike Brown said: ‘The Toolbox, and its new Home Page is the central platform to our suite of support for busy conservation practitioners.  As IHBC members face unprecedented challenges in funding, infrastructure and the capacity to secure competent advice and support, the ‘Toolbox’ could not be more timely or essential.’

‘The Toolbox also demonstrates how the IHBC continues to focus on supportive action for our members, as we continue to do all we can to build working interfaces across the huge diversity of conservation stakeholders and interests.  Our Toolbox will play a key role in building the efficient and effective inter-disciplinary connections essential in any successful built and historic environment conservation.’

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘While the arrival of the Beta Home Page means the Toolbox is operational, that’s not to say it’s ideally structured as yet!  Like any toolbox, we will re-arrange the headline areas and their links – like the trays and compartments in your toolbox – to best suit users’ needs.  And we can add and subtract content and routes, as we learn what members and users want.’

‘Indeed it is also the first public statement in the delivery of our new Corporate Plan, as we shape a core service that is in turn shaped first by members’ needs, so do be sure to offer your thoughts on this and other aspects of our work through the feedback link. 

Visit the Beta Home Page of the Toolbox and feel free to explore the links from there and feedback through our WebStarter.

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Join the IHBC’s online ‘jobs fest’: email alerts on ‘Jobs etc’ for all

The IHBC is extending its capacity to reach out to prospective members and heritage specialists with a new opportunity for non-members to add their names to our email alerts linked to our ‘Jobs etc’ service.

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘Reaching the right people remains critical to information-based services such as our ‘Jobs etc’ platform.  To help extend our reach and accessibility beyond our core networks, and increase flexibility in our services, we’re now offering email alerts to non-members.  All you need do is use our sign up form linked from our ‘Jobs etc’ page and when you receive your first email alert be sure to use our website links if you want to let others know about these opportunities.’

‘The more astute applicants for posts realise that simply joining the IHBC as an Affiliate online is by far the easiest way to help career progress – if they’ve not already done so – and they’ll know that cost is not a barrier as we offer such excellent fee support to those in need.’

‘Hopefully others will also come to realise that serious employers value membership of the IHBC very highly and that may well be the critical push for prospective applicants to make the necessary effort to get ahead in heritage conservation by joining the IHBC online now!’

Apply for IHBC membership

Find out about IHBC fee support

Sign up for the ‘Jobs etc’ email alert service

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