The IHBC’s Northern Ireland (NI) Branch and the Northern Ireland Committee of the Association of Preservation Trusts (NIAPT) held their first joint conference at Hillsborough Castle on 10 November, discussing how building preservation trusts can work with partners to promote positive building conservation work and help projects happen on the ground across Northern Ireland.
IHBC President David McDonald said: ‘It was a privilege to meet members of the Northern Ireland Branch and I was greatly impressed by their professionalism in dealing with the recent administrative changes to planning and conservation in the Province. The dedication and enthusiasm of the local building preservation trusts and their achievements with limited resources was quite inspiring.’
IHBC NI Branch Chair Andrew McClelland said: ‘The Northern Ireland Branch was delighted to partner with the Association of Preservation Trusts in bringing together the days events at Hillsborough Castle. The turnout exceeded expectations and it was particularly pleasing to have such a strong local and national representation from the IHBC and to tie-in with the UK Policy Committee meeting.’
Fiona Newton, IHBC Operations Director, writes:
Both the IHBC’s Branch and the NIAPT held their respective AGMs at the same venue on Tuesday 10th November. The venue was the historic estate of Hillsborough Castle, while the two groups met separately before joining as joint hosts of the first Annual Conference – ‘Thinking about a way forward for Building Preservation Trusts in Northern Ireland’. The IHBC’s UK wide interests were represented by the attendance of IHBC President David McDonald; Chair Mike Brown; Vice Chair Kathy Davies, and Policy Secretary David Kincaid , along with other members of the IHBC’s Policy Committee which also met in the Castle as part of a linked programme adding capacity and value to the day.
The theme for the conference aligned with the recent APT NI study of the Building Preservation Trust sector in Northern Ireland – ‘Building Preservation Trusts in Northern Ireland: Promoting New Partnerships’. Iain Greenway, Senior Responsible Owner for the new Department of Communities who described his vision for the new Department and for wider conservation activities in Northern Ireland. Elizabeth Perkins of the UK APT described the renewal and potential rebranding of the APT, Dr James Moir author of the recent NI BPT study described the ways a project can go, the relationships needed and the pitfalls and John Blair from Historic Royal Palaces looking at the works carried out at Hillsborough since Historic Royal Palaces have taken it on and what is proposed for the future. Other speakers included Harry McDaid from Ulster Community Investment Trust and Tiziana O’Hara from Cooperative Alternatives. The talks were followed by a panel discussion.