Dear World Heritage UK members and supporters
This has been the first full year for World Heritage UK and I think we can safely say that it has been busy and successful. January kicked the year’s events off with an excellent Technical Meeting on Management Planning in Edinburgh. Not only did it include a useful set of presentations and workshop sessions, but the Burns Night supper went down very well, and some people even braved the torrential rain for a short field trip on the Tuesday morning. Our thanks go to our outstanding hosts, Historic Environment Scotland.
This was followed by an excellent one-day seminar at the Tower of London in collaboration with ALVA about challenges and opportunities facing World Heritage; highlighting perhaps the degree with which we as World Heritage Sites would benefit from collaborating across the sector.
June brought the first summer Networking Meeting, hosted superbly by the National Trust at Giant’s Causeway. The mixture of field trip, evening meal, general meeting and presentations worked well, and it was a pleasure to see another of the UK’s natural sites.
Caernarfon was the venue for the second annual World Heritage UK conference in October, which, from all the feedback, was every bit as good as the first one in Saltaire. The mixture of case studies, high-profile speakers (young and old), field trips and an evening reception at Penrhyn Castle made for a very popular and useful event. We are particularly grateful to Cadw for their support for this event, and also to Gwynedd Council and the National Trust. We will be looking to maintain the high standard next autumn at Ironbridge – dates to be confirmed shortly in the new year.
Finally, in collaboration with the Institute of Fundraising and their Giving to Heritage scheme, we held the first of what we hope to be an ongoing set of training events in subjects that you say you need support – in this case fundraising. This was followed for some people by a House of Lords reception to celebrate 30 years of World Heritage Sites in the UK. World Heritage UK were identified as a key partner by Historic England, and it was a useful event for profile raising.
In terms of profile and advocacy, we have managed to get ourselves around some ‘important desks’, including that of the new Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, in respect of ‘post-Brexit’ issues. We produced a useful paper in that respect which is available on our website. Locally, World Heritage Sites have, as ever, been promoting the values and importance of World Heritage, particularly those seven that were given the status some 30 years ago.
There are many more things I could say but I won’t bore you any further – it is Christmas after all – apart from to say that I hope we are doing what you, as members, need. This is your organisation, you are the members, so please do let us know what you think.
As for next year, we are confirming the programme for the year which will start with a Technical Meeting about World Heritage and Planning in Bath on March 8th. We will also be looking to join Sites up better around 2017 World Heritage Day (April 18th), and hopefully make a bit of splash about it. More details will follow as we get into the new year.
Finally, if you are not a member and would like to be, or knows someone/an organisation who would, please get in touch with Chris on firstname.lastname@example.org. It is important to build our membership, after all, World Heritage is for Life, not just for Christmas.
Have a really great festive season, and all of the very best for 2017
Very best wishes
Sam Rose and the Board of Trustees
World Heritage UK