Proudly Presenting: Our Themes!

Heritage Lottery FundWe have just finalised our themes for the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme. As you can imagine, quite a bit of brainstorming and discussion have gone into producing this, but – following recent approval of the final draft by the Project Board – we are now able to show everybody the themes that will be guiding our work.

Why do we need themes? From the start, it was clear that all partners felt that we needed themes to help focus everybody on what we want to achieve. It is, in fact, a logical development from our vision and strategic aims and objectives for the scheme.

As the landscape of the Ouse Washes LP area is far less known, understood and appreciated than other landscapes in the region – as set out in this previous post -, it was thought that the themes would also provide the partnership with an important tool to tell the ‘stories’ of this landscape, and help getting people to understand what this landscape is about.

The themes will:

  • Help our partners to develop their projects in more details;
  • Guide the way we will promote and deliver events throughout the scheme;
  • Help communities to find ways of engaging with the landscape’s heritage through the scheme’s projects and events;
  • Guide the way we want to promote the landscape and its heritage;
  • Help in the development towards a clear legacy for the landscape.

We are very curious to hear from you, our audience, what you think about our themes; do let me know. Ok, here they are, our 5 themes:

Themes

More details are provided in the below PowerPoint file, setting out: our five themes, with further explanation given, as well as a range of example subjects we feel could fall under each of the themes:

Themes PP_May 2013

New opportunities with HLF

Heritage Lottery FundThe Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) recently announced some changes to its schemes, starting April 2013.

There are several interesting developments worth pointing out.

First of all, it is clear that the Landscape Partnership programme continues to receive a considerable amount of the available HLF money; the HLF has also announced that this scheme will run for at least another five years. Some changes have, however, been made to the Landscape Partnership scheme, making the process for new schemes simpler and more flexible; the main changes are summarised as such on HLF’s news page:

“The application process has been simplified with new guidance materials available online. Greater flexibility has been built into the programme and awards will now start at £100,000 (previously £250,000) with the upper limit rising from £2m to £3m. The recommended scheme area size will continue to be between 20km² and 200km² but flexibility has been introduced to allow partnerships to cover a greater area depending on the scale and nature of the landscape.”

If you are interested to start your own Landscape Partnership scheme, be aware that the deadline for first-round applications is 31 May 2013 for decisions in October 2013. For an application pack with all of the new guidance documents, go to the HLF’s Landscape Partnership page.

_9_74_1

Fen Drayton landscape_image by Pete Johnstone for Cambridgeshire ACRE

Secondly, the HLF has split the previous ‘Your Heritage’ programme into two new programmes, ‘Our Heritage’ for grants between £10,000 and £100,000, and ‘Sharing Heritage’, for grants between £3,000 and £10,000.

The latter is an interesting scheme: not only is this a ‘rolling programme’, meaning that there is no set deadline in the year and you can apply at any time, the decision-making process is also very short, with a maximum of 8 weeks only. The application form is also not complicated. More important perhaps is that for the ‘Sharing Heritage’ scheme no cash match funding needs to be found, something which could present insurmountable difficulties for community groups with some of the other HLF programmes. The HLF commits £3 million each year to the ‘Sharing Heritage’ programme, helping people across the UK explore, conserve and share all aspects of the history and character of their local area.

This means that all sorts of community groups could apply for small grants up to 10K. Throughout the delivery phase of the Ouse Washes LP we will encourage community groups to apply for these and similar grant schemes (such as the ‘Young Roots’ programme). Through active community engagement with the landscape by adding on related projects, we could ensure a legacy for the landscape beyond the four years of the Ouse Washes LP scheme,  which is central to what we are trying to achieve (see our vision for more on this).

See here for an overview of all of HLF’s schemes, all with updated guidance. Look here for a quick overview of the main differences between the different programmes.

People and Legacy: our Vision for the Ouse Washes

Heritage Lottery FundSome important decisions were made at our first Project Board meeting late last week, taking the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme to the next level. The Project Board consists of representatives from various partner organisations, together covering a wide range of interests: local communities; wildlife; historic environment; water management; farmers & land owners; public access; museums; and churches.

These Board Meetings take place every two months throughout the year; these are important focal points where decisions are made which concern the whole partnership.

One of the decisions made concerned the Vision, as well as the strategic Aims and Objectives for the whole of the LP scheme. A unanimous decision was made that we stick to the previously defined Vision, Aims and Objectives, as they were originally developed for the stage 1 bid. The Heritage Lottery Fund was particularly impressed with the stage 1 bid, as commented on in a previous post. This is also demonstrated in the HLF’s comments on our vision:

“The Scheme has a strong Vision … They have clearly given a lot of thought to it and I especially liked “A place that links the stories of the past and the possibilities of the future”, demonstrating they understand the importance of linking past experience with future activity (comment HLF appointed mentor, May 2012)”

Well, what’s our Vision? It is this:

The Ouse Washes will be:

A place managed for the needs of all its inhabitants and visitors,

A place for people to thrive and wildlife to flourish,

A place that links the stories of the past and the possibilities of the future.

Walkers - Anthea Abbott and family - permissions granted

Education

The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership is, thus, very much focused on people – locals and visitors alike – and on leaving a clear legacy. This legacy, in the shape of a sustainable future for the landscape, its heritage and communities, will be based on a clear understanding of the past interactions of people with their environment in this landscape: by learning from the past, we can decide on the best future direction.

Swan Feeds at Welney

Training & Participation

Hence, education, training and community participation will form important elements of the scheme, in particular in all the projects which will take place during the Delivery phase (which starts in April 2014): education, to make people more aware of the uniqueness of this landscape; community participation, to provide a greater connection with the landscape and to provide a ‘sense of place’; and training, to provide people with skills in order to sustain the landscape’s special character.

_9_19

Providing for a sense of place

Read more about our Aims and Objectives, which follow logically from the overarching Vision, in this document:

Ouse Washes LPS_Vision Aims and Objectives

Further information about our aims for the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership can be found on this page.

Let us know what you think: do you agree with the HLF’s comments? Is this indeed the right direction for the Ouse Washes? Has anything been overlooked?

Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership Scheme gets the green light

The Scheme’s lead partner, Cambridgeshire ACRE, met with the Heritage Lottery Fund on 13 September and was given the ‘green light’ to start work.

Part of the meeting was to receive feedback on the Stage 1 submission and we wanted to share an extract from the HLF’s expert advisor’s recommendation report:

I was very impressed with this project, both in terms of the submission document and the people and places we visited… Because of the compelling need and opportunity the LPS presents, the significant heritage, learning and participation benefits and the very strong project partnership and Vision,… I strongly recommend this project for HLF funding. I have seen few better Stage 1 LPS submissions.

Thanks again to all partners for getting us to this stage of the Scheme’s development.

The next task is to recruit a Programme Manager who can lead on the development of the Landscape Conservation Action Plan. Cambridgeshire ACRE is advertising this role on its website: http://www.cambsacre.org.uk/jobs.php

It’s a great opportunity for the right countryside professional so if you know anyone who might be interested in applying for the role, please share this link with them. The closing date for applications is 31 October 2012.

We’ll keep everyone abreast of developments via the blog.