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Fire Service Heritage Activity Day, Bishopwearmouth Sunderland

Come and join us on Friday 11th August and explore Sunderland's Fire Serivce Heritage. Drop in event in the park outside Sunderland Minster, with a variety of activities to take part in - from 10.30 - 4pm. A larger version of the poster can be seen on the project page

Is this what you've been looking for? NECT is recruiting people with spirited ambition to achieve transformational change.

NECT has been around for over 50 years but we are going through transformational change and are looking for people who want to join us and achive great things. Backed by a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Resilient Heritage programme, we are reviewing every aspect of who we are, what we do, and who benefits, so we’re looking for people who are entrepreneurial in outlook, committed to making a real difference to the causes they get involved in, and are up for a challenge.

Assistant Director / Historic Assets and Projects Manager

The roots of NECT are in civil society and cultural heritage – the essence of what makes places special to people. That is still a key part of what we do but we are increasingly putting even more emphasis on people and how we work – sharing what we’ve learned and the skills we’ve acquired to support other organisations, avoiding pitfalls or reinventing the wheel. We have established a remarkable capacity for holistic planning of initiatives, from governance reviews and the fundamentals of organisational capacity, to options appraisals and feasibility testing, funding and budgets, risk management, business and project planning, and building in long-term sustainability. Learning through traditional skills and exploring cultural identity is something we’ve received European recognition for, but new areas for us are how places have a therapeutic value in social and healthy wellbeing, addressing barriers such as employability, and ways in which people get involved in things they value, such as community asset transfers and share issues.
If the above whets your appetite, then you’re probably someone we’d like to become involved in what NECT will become. We can send you more information but have a look at our website (before it too gets a complete overhaul) or look us up on Facebook and Twitter. The Director, Graham Bell, will be happy to have a confidential chat with you (07815 874423).
NECT is an executive-driven charity in that the Director and staff are responsible for running the organisation and are accountable to a board of trustees who oversee its governance and provide an array of specialist expertise, but who also represent the people we aim to serve. In joining the team you may have skills that are not obviously about the environment or cultural heritage but are about business acumen, value judgements, change management, innovation or the areas we should be working in but aren’t yet. This is not a benign role: the Trust takes on some awesome projects of its own alongside a surprising range of consultancy and public benefit activities. There’s hardly a place the Trust has not had some involvement with, yes, at very local levels as you’d expect, but also at national and European levels (we interpret ‘North of England’ very loosely…perhaps even our name will come under scrutiny).
A job description and invitation requirements are available below but we’re really interested in someone who gets what we’re about and can realise potential. If that is you, get in touch, submit an expression of interest by 12 noon on Monday 14 August to the Director, be available for interview week commencing 21 August, and it could be you we get on board in September.

RES.NECT 50+.GB.270717.Assistant Director - Historic Assets & Projects Manager.pdf

NECT is recruiting additional trustees - is this what you've been looking for?

NECT is a registered charity with a board of trustees who oversee its governance and provide an array of specialist expertise to inform direction and decision-making. Backed by a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Resilient Heritage programme, we are reviewing every aspect of who we are, what we do, and who benefits, so we’re looking for people who are entrepreneurial in outlook, committed to making a real difference to the causes they get involved in, and are up for a challenge. The roots of NECT are in civil society and conservation planning of the historic environment – the essence of what makes places special to people. That is still a key part of what we do but we are increasingly putting even more emphasis on people and how we work – sharing what we’ve learned and the skills we’ve acquired to support other organisations, avoiding pitfalls or reinventing the wheel. We have established a remarkable capacity for holistic planning of initiatives from governance reviews and the fundamentals of organisational capacity, to options appraisals and feasibility testing, funding and budgets, risk management and project planning, and planning for long-term sustainability. Learning through traditional skills and exploring cultural identity is something we’ve received European recognition for, but new areas for us are how places have a therapeutic value in social and healthy wellbeing, addressing barriers such as employability, and ways in which people get involved in things they value, such as community asset transfers and share issues.
If the above whets your appetite then you’re probably someone we’d like to become involved in what NECT will become over the next three years. We can send you more information but have a look at our website (before it too gets a complete overhaul) or look us up on Facebook and Twitter. The Director, Graham Bell, will be happy to have a confidential chat with you.
NECT is executive-driven in that the Director and staff are responsible for running the organisation and are accountable to the Board, who are trustees of the charity and directors of the company limited by guarantee, backed by trustee liability insurance. Trustees meet quarterly to balance spirited ambition with due diligence. At other times they support the staff with advice, contacts and their specialist knowledge. In practical terms, we aim to have trustees from the north east, Cumbria and North Yorkshire. Board meetings currently are held during the working day usually in Newcastle upon Tyne but also in Cumbria or Yorkshire. Trustees set policies, review activities and consider resources and risk management – everything you’d expect in exercising good governance. The aim is that the composition of the Board should match the activities and required competences of the public benefit activities of the charity – thematically and geographically, for in a sense trustees are representatives of the people we aim to serve. You may therefore have skills that are not obviously about the environment or cultural heritage but are about value judgements, management, innovation or the areas we should be working in, but aren’t yet. This is not a benign role: the Trust takes on some awesome projects of its own alongside a surprising range of consultancy and public benefit activities. There’s hardly a place the Trust has not had some involvement with, yes, at very local levels as you’d expect, but also at national and European levels (we interpret ‘North of England’ very loosely…perhaps even our name will come under scrutiny).
We are looking to recruit three new trustees in the next six months and line up people who may be interested in the future. Prospective new trustees will meet the Chairman and Director for an informal discussion and if selected, will be provided with appropriate induction. Our first deadline for receipt of expressions of interest is 12 noon on Wednesday 23 August. Expressions of interest should be sent by email to the Director at graham.bell@nect.org.uk. All submissions will be acknowledged and receive a response by the end of August, followed up by a meeting early in September. The first board meeting for new trustees will be in early October.

Rocket House, Newbiggin by the Sea - Heritage Skills Activities

As part of the Heritage Lottery Funded restoration works at the Rocket House, NECT is co-ordinating a series of taster days and a mini skills festival to be held during May and June 2017. These include stone carving, joinery, sign writing and a walkabout learning about the conservation area. Activities will be held at the Newbiggin Maritime Centre. The Mini Skills Festival on 25th June will include demonstrators across a range of traditional skills including stone masonry, blacksmithing, wood carving and traditional wood turning using a pole lathe, boat maintenance, net making and opportunities for all to join in with various crafty activities.

The Heritage skills festival held on Sunday brought a variety of traditional building and craft skills demonstrators together to showcase our rich heritage. Visitors to the centre were able to see traditional pole lathe and green woodworkers in action, an artistic blacksmith with his portable forge, a stone mason at work carving a decorative piece and learn about traditional skills linked with our fishing heritage - knots, net mending, boat maintenance and an exciting project, Blyth Tall Ship is recapturing the spirit of adventure and global entrepreneurship that was employed in Blyth to discover the Antarctic Landmass 200 years ago in a sailing ship called the Williams, to inspire future generations to fulfil their full potential.
Traditional crafts such as proggy and hooky mat making, knitting, crochet, painting, wood carving and wood turning were also represented and a variety of items were made during the day

Warwick Bridge Corn Mill Gardening volunteer session, April 2017

a second garden blitz was held on 26th April - a fine and dry day, just a little cool, but the activities of the keen volunteers - from both far and near, meant that the grounds surrounding the mill are now looking much better. Volunteers from Heron Corn Mill came to join us, and shared their wealth of knowlege and experience. Some images are on their facebook page

NECT needs your help - Tell us your horror stories about historic buildings! April 2017

Cultural Heritage: the ultimate disaster movie!

Europa Nostra has long been an advocate of high standards – in conservation, but also new design within the context of the historic environment. Change is inevitable, so managing it well is our call to action. The awards have grown into one of Europe’s most inspirational databases of best practice: when faced with almost any challenge, however sensitive the setting or condition of an historic building, someone somewhere has shown how to convert liabilities into assets. The 7 Most Endangered programme takes this further by highlighting the vulnerability of our most cherished cultural heritage sites – sometimes through neglect (the ‘sin of omission’), but worryingly, more often through totally inappropriate proposals (the ‘sin of commission’). We cannot assume that people know what the ‘right’ thing to do is. Shockingly, ignorance among owners and developers causes as much damage as years of inaction.

This set me thinking. Through Europa Nostra we are familiar with the crème de la crème, but most of us will have witnessed unbelievable acts to historic buildings and places – acts that by their profanity serve by contrast to increase our respect for those schemes which we so admire. On 3 May I will be representing Europa Nostra in presenting this subject to an international audience at Somerset House in London, for which I seek your help. Though it may pain you to dwell on outrageous acts to historic buildings, please will you kindly send me your examples which I can use to illustrate just how badly things can go wrong when Europa Nostra is not there to show a better way. Ideally I would like photographs with a caption identifying the location and if possible a short explanation of what went wrong. This may require a pair of ‘before and after’ images to appreciate how profound the harm caused has been. If you prefer, links to web pages are also helpful. Please will you kindly send me your responses by 21 April to graham.bell@nect.org.uk.

We are very fortunate to be able to learn from the best projects in Europe because we understand why they are the best. But we can also learn from horrendous mistakes, and perhaps it is the obvious calamity of these that will impress upon the wider world how precious our cultural heritage is, and why it is so important to understand the need to adopt the right approach.

Graham Bell
Director, North of England Civic Trust
Member of Council

Activities during March at the Old Low Light, North Shields

Don’t miss ‘Sail Not Drift’ and ‘Fishing’ in their final weeks. Both of these exhibitions have been curated by local art students from North Tyneside Art Studio and Tynemouth Metropolitan Creative Studios. Artists from North Tyneside Art Studio have taken inspiration from the evolution of North Shields’ Fish Quay in their ‘Sail Not Drift’ exhibition, whilst their contemporaries from Tyne Met’s Creative Studios have mapped our fishing industry with some of its best known characters.The latest newsletter contains details of a variety of activities this month. For full details click on the link below

Senhouse Museum - Hadrian's Cavalry 2017 events

An exciting series of events and activities are taking place during 2017 as part of the Arts Council England funded programme Hadrian's Cavalry 2017 During late February and March a series of lectures are being held with visiting guest speakers at Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport. More details can be found on our Camp Farm activities page

Warwick Bridge Corn Mill project receives funding support

October 2016. NECT has been offered just under £50,000 towards the cost of the restoration of the milling machinery and watercourse through the RDPE Leader fund for the Solway Border and Eden area of Cumbria.

December 2016. We are delighted to have been awarded funding from two Charitable Trusts towards our Corn Mill restoration this month. Our grateful thanks go to the Trustees of the PilgrimTrust and the Trustees of the Wolfson Foundation.

Royal visitor joins NECT for its 50th anniversary celebration

North of England Civic Trust was delighted to welcome its Patron, HRH The Duke of Gloucester, to Maryport on 27th April 2016. The occasion marks the first royal visit to Maryport for eighteen years, and is the climax of NECT’s 50th birthday celebrations. His Royal Highness visited Camp Farm and met teachers, children, archaeologists and local people at Maryport Infant and Junior Schools.

Camp Farm forms part of the internationally significant Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site, with archaeological remains of Roman military and civilian life buried beneath the fields. The site also boasts amazing views over the beautiful Solway Firth, and the derelict buildings of the model farm built by the Senhouse family in the 1860s.

First Roman Games at Ewanrigg a resounding success

The first Roman Games festival at Ewanrigg was held over the weekend of 8th - 10th April 2015 and was deemed a resounding success by all who took part. The weekend of activities was enjoyed by many residents and the chariot race on Sunday had over 40 participants and featured some very creative chariots and costumes. Everyone is now looking forward to next year's event.
Visit the Ewanrigg website and watch their film on youtube.

First Schools visit to Camp Farm Maryport

Wednesday 9th March saw the first school visits to Camp Farm with children from the Maryport Joint Schools Council meeting in the Bothy at the farm. Ten teachers and twenty pupils gathered together to learn a little about the farm and the site, and to start thinking how they would like to be involved in its future, and what ideas they had for the buildings.

group of primary school children outside farm buildings

York - Changing the Face of the City New book by York Civic Trust

York Civic Trust has just published (2016) a new book, ‘York: Changing the Face of the City’, by Sir Ron Cooke. Proceeds from the sale go to YCT’s City Enhancement Fund which recycles income into tangible benefits to the city and the book’s subject. NECT has worked with YCT on a range of issues from reusing redundant upper floors to proposals to improve the setting of the historic landmark of Clifford’s Tower, and what to do about urban growth into the surrounding hinterland. YCT’s work is exemplary, influencing policy within the city and inspiring other civic and amenity societies in what they can achieve.

Creative and Cultural Skills Awards 2016

We are delighted to have been shortlisted for an award at this year's Creative and Cultural Skills Awards for the Engineering Heritage Skills Initiative. Congratulations to all the team members and thanks for the support from Tyne and Wear Museums.

The awards will shine a light on those who are making a difference by passing on their skills by leading training and talent development schemes, mentoring or coaching formally or informally, or by being an inspirational manager or sector leader. It is also an opportunity to award individuals who have shown excellence in skills development in the creative industries.

The Awards presentation took place on 2nd March and although we didn't win an award the evening was a great success showcasing the strength of creative and cultural skills training that is happening throughout Great Britain.

For a round up of award winners see the awards webpage here

Trinity House, Newcastle upon Tyne hosts Award Ceremony for Heritage Skills Initiative

Wednesday afternoon, 3rd February, saw the Corporation of Trinity House, Newcastle upon Tyne kindly hosting the local award ceremony and presentation of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Award 2015 to NECT's Heritage Skills Initiative.
We were delighted that the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear was able to join us for the event, along with representatives from the North East Historic Environment Forum, Funders, participants and demonstrators who had been involved throughout the project.

First School Visit to Warwick Bridge Corn Mill

Group of school children stood outside the corn mill12th January 2016.
This week we welcomed 5 classes of children from Warwick Bridge Primary School to look around the Corn Mill for the very first time. The children were fascinated by the milling machinery which is still in situ at the mill and were keen to learn more about how the site used to operate. The whole school has now visited the site and pupils will be working on projects relating to the mill and milling, with an end of term presentation event in February.

Coastal Revival Fund Success for Camp Farm Project

farm buildings with doorway into bothy

We are delighted to announce that we are one of the 77 successful projects to be funded through the government's Coastal Revival Fund.

The Coastal Revival Fund grant will help make the derelict farmstead safe to enable NECT to involve the public from the very start of the journey that will lead to the restoration of the model farm and making the Roman site one of West Cumbria’s landmark assets.

Over the coming months NECT will use the grant to undertake urgent repairs to the most
vulnerable historic buildings and create a ‘base camp’ in the former bothy so that groups
can experience the site while it is still in its raw state. Activities will involve learning about
how to survey historic buildings, including both history and habitat, to generating ideas
about the site’s future. Cumbria has a number of important model farms from when
agriculture was being modernised in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Camp
Farm was created by the Senhouse family but while it was a working farm it was not open
to the public – until now. Learning firsthand from a real life model farm about how
agriculture shaped life and fed the folk of Maryport will be a valuable new experience. The
Roman world and then the Senhouse family are chapters in the story of the link between
fort and port, farm and family – a story to tell the visitor to Maryport.

The full list of the successful bids is available on the DCLG press release, which you can see on this link here.

Warwick Bridge Corn Mill project receives HLF support

North of England Civic Trust is excited to announce that it has been awarded a grant of £1,379,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards its ambitious £2m project for the historic corn mill in Warwick Bridge.

Warwick Bridge Corn Mill dates from the early 1800s and is listed Grade II*. It has appeared on Historic England's At Risk Register for 15 years.

Links to the full press release and media coverage below.

Funding news: we have recently been awarded grants from Historic England, the Headley Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation towards the Corn Mill project leading us nearer to our ambitious £2M total for the project and enabling work to commence on site to protect the building from the worst of the winter weather. Our thanks to all who have supported us so far. If you would like to support our project please get in touch!


Heritage Skills Initiative Wins European Award!

Heritage Skills Initiative has won an EU/Europa Nostra Cultural Heritage award under the Education, Training and Awareness-Raising category. The 28 award winners, selected from 263 applications submitted by organisations and individuals from 29 countries, are honoured for outstanding achievements in four categories: 1) conservation, 2) research and digitization, 3) dedicated service to heritage, and 4) education, training and awareness-raising.

Since its foundation, Heritage Skills Initiative has delivered 150,000 hours of training and engagement with over 37,000 people. Its activities range from Taster Days, master classes, lectures, conferences to a variety of tailor-made events; also there have been 11 building bursaries of over 6 months’ duration and 53 heritage engineering bursaries of 12 months’ duration. 91% of the engineering trainees continued into heritage and engineering employment. 40% of the participants for practical hands-on training are women. In addition, nearly 500 children between 13 and 15, from 25 schools, have taken part in the programme.

For more information about the awards and the other category winners, please see the press release below.


Local History Event at Port Carlisle 30th January 2016

A very interesting day was had by all those who attended the event held in the chapel at Port Carlisle. Many people were inspired to learn more about their local area and become involved with the project.

Camp Farm and the Alauna Roman Fort

The future of the Alauna Roman fort and a model farm at Maryport has been safeguarded by a transfer between two charities. In a deal that has taken eight months to put together, North of England Civic Trust (NECT) has acquired the site from the Hadrian’s Wall Trust (HWT) which ceased trading in July 2014 and now will be wound up.

Camp Farm at Maryport is at the western point of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site – one of the largest in the world. It stretches for over 3,000 miles from Maryport across Europe to the Middle East, through Syria, and along the north coast of Africa. Under the turf of the farm is the Roman fort of Alauna and its civilian settlement or ‘vicus’. Over the years surveys and excavations have established the extent and international significance of the archaeology but so far this has not been fully presented to the public. HWT was the agency that promoted Hadrian’s Wall around the world and had acquired the site and drawn up plans to use the model farm buildings as an international visitor attraction and interpretation centre, but the demise of the regional development agencies and funding cutbacks meant this could not be realised. The winding up of HWT put the whole future of the site in jeopardy until negotiations with NECT offered a lifeline.

2015 is NECT’s 50th anniversary so acquisition of Camp Farm presents the Trust with a timely and appropriate celebration to do what it does best: take on challenging and often derelict historic buildings and bring them back from the brink. The Trust has properties around the north of England that it has rescued, including a stately home in Northumberland, a former town hall and coaching inn in Sunderland, and a watermill near Hawes in North Yorkshire that won through to a final of BBC Restoration. So what of Camp Farm?

Model Farm, Camp Farm, Maryport

Graham Bell, Director of NECT, is excited, not daunted: “I probably spend more time treading carefully through derelict buildings than finished ones, so what I see here is not abandoned buildings and buried stones but something that if handled carefully can be brought back to life. Everyone has heard of Hadrian’s Wall but Alauna is still largely Maryport’s secret.

Our first question is how to share that secret so everyone gains, especially the residents and schoolchildren on its doorstep, and West Cumbria, and the wider world. Our first step will be to listen to people to build a picture of what will work best. We’ve begun with our neighbours, the Senhouse Museum, and think we can do great things together.”

This is a strategically important site, not just for its history but its role in the economy and environment of West Cumbria. Allerdale Borough Council, Cumbria County Council and Energy Coast West Cumbria are all key players whose support has been critical.

20th anniversary celebration

man with coloured glass bowlAs well as 2015 being the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Trust, it is also the 20th year that the Director has been in post. Earlier this summer, the Trustees took the opportunity to present Graham Bell with a commemorative bowl, created by local glass artist Jane Charles. The Trustees and staff look forward to working with Graham for many more years to come.