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Upcoming Activities August and September

Three opportunities to get involved in activities in the next few weeks:

This coming Saturday - 19th August you can discover a unique piece of Northumberland's World War One heritage on the moors above Rothbury.
Over 100 years ago the 18th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers trained to be soldiers on the moors above Rothbury before they were sent to France – marching, rifle practice and digging trenches. This summer only, we are inviting the public to follow in the bootstraps of the 18th Battalion and visit the trenches where the men trained. On Saturday 19th August the trenches will be animated with Durham Pals living history group, story telling from the trenches, rifle practice, face painting and tours of the original trenches. A free shuttle bus from Rothbury Haugh carpark will take you to the site and bring you back into Rothbury (operating between 11am and 4pm).

On Thursday 7th September you can join members of the Townscape Heritage Project team in a walk around the Bishopwearmouth area of Sunderland and learn of plans for its conservation. A bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund will be submitted later in the year, so this will be a chance to access some of the buildings that could benefit from grant aid if the bid is successful. The tour will take place at 2pm and there are a limited number of places, please ring 01912329279 or email admin@nect.org.uk to reserve your spot.

Over the weekend of 23rd and 24th September you can join traditional signwriter Michael Gray and help create permanent records of some of the ships rescued by the Rocket House Brigade at Newbiggin by the Sea. Full details of this can be found in the poster below.

poster advertising workshops 23 and 24 september

Family Activity day Friday 11th August - Bishopwearmouth Park at The Minster Sunderland

details of event on posterCome 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.

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.

Archeaology Festival event at Rothbury Sunday 30th July 2017

As part of the annual archaeology festival, the Rothbury Trenches project up on the moors above the town will be holding an open day this coming Sunday, 30th July from 11 - 4.
Visitors will be able to step inside a replica trench to learn what daily life was like for soldiers and visit the original trenches dug by members of the 18th Battallion Northumberland Fusiliers as part of the war training in 1915.

Lots of activity for all the family to enjoy. Access to the site is via a free shuttle bus service from the Haugh car park in Rothbury. More information can be seen by clicking on the link below

Heritage Skills Festival at Newbiggin Maritime Centre, Sunday 25th June

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.

Stonemasonry skills taster sessions May/June 2017

As part of our ongoing work with Newbiggin Heritage Partnership at the Rocket House, Newbiggin by the Sea we have two taster days in stone carving coming up soon. We are offering 6 people the chance to have a go at stone carving and learn a little bit about the work currently being undertaken at the Rocket House.
This event is aimed at beginners, and will take place on Wednesday 31st May and Wednesday 7th June between 10am and 4pm. If you are interested in taking part, please email admin@nect.org.uk to reserve a place.

Activities at Warwick Bridge Corn Mill

tidy garden at mill following volunteer activity April 2017a 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

Bursary opportunity in Manchester

The National Heritage Training Group is recruiting for a trainee in the use of hard and soft metals on historic buildings, to be based with J Hempstock in Manchester. The placement is a bursaried position which runs for 6 months. For more information and to download an application form, please visit their website

Port Carlisle - a small place with a big history

Last weekend (7-9th April) saw the unveiling of the new interpretation panel in Port Carlisle telling more of the history of this small but important village. A celebration event, complete with childrens entertainer, face painting, walking trails, lecture and exhibition and several bands, was held over the weekend which was enhanced by the glorious sunshine. More photos will be available soon our our project page

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

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

NECT lands game-changer grant from the National Lottery.

NECT has been awarded an amazing grant of £145,200 by the Heritage lottery Fund (HLF) under its Resilient Heritage programme to give the Trust its biggest overhaul in 25 years. It is one of the first successful applications in the UK to this programme, so we're understandably thrilled and thankful to the people who play the National Lottery who have made this boost possible. Through Resilient Heritage, HLF recognises that organisations, especially those that have previously received grants, need to stay ahead of the game in adapting to changes in funding and the needs of those they work with. That can mean adapting how they do things, bringing in fresh thinking or boosting resources. Although NECT has recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and has enjoyed the benefits of a wide range of national lottery grant support from small grants of £10,000 or less to develop projects to £2.7M to deliver them, now is the time to shift the focus from the projects it is known for to an opportunity to refresh its own needs.

The grant will create two new posts and support advice from a wide range of experts to improve NECT's very wide range of activities: the seven historic buildings and sites it owns, including a Roman fort and Victorian model farm, a former town hall, coaching inn and two watermills, its collections, including some of the very earliest Bakelite in the UK, and how it can do more in partnership with community groups and other charities, such as in an ambitious plan working with the Methodist Church to bring the landmark Keelmen's Hospital in Newcastle back to life.

Though most organisations undergo periodic reviews, these are normally behind closed doors whereas NECT will share its scrutiny with a range of other organisations so that all can learn tips on strengths and weaknesses. "This openness is how we do things" said Graham Bell, NECT's Director; "we're trying to avoid organisations reinventing the wheel at a time when most of us have to make precious resources go that bit further. I always feel we have to be a bit of an alchemist in this respect - there has to be some magic in the mix. The real bonus is that HLF sees and encourages that". NECT is recruiting now for the two new posts and the programme will run until the end of 2018.

New Staff Posts within NECT

New Staff Posts. A key aim of the Resilient Heritage grant is to build the resources of the Trusts, especially our people, as what we're capable of achieving is down to our team. The grant will support recruitment of two significant new staff posts and build our capacity to help others through hosting trainees and volunteers, by sharing our expertise through mentoring, and doing more in partnership.

Recruitment of the two posts is being announced today (3rd April) and they are:
Assistant Director - Historic Assets & Projects Manager and a Social Enterprise Business Development Officer.
Details of the posts are available to download below. Key dates to note are as follows:
Announcement of Recruitment: Monday 3rd April;
Deadline for submissions:Thursday 20th April, to be received before midnight;
Interview invitations Friday 21st April;
Interviews Monday 8th May, in Newcastle.

Other opportunities to work with us As the Trust grows we will be looking for additional members to join the team, either as staff (which can be on flexible working arrangements) or on contract. If this is of interest, please send a CV and an outline of why you would like to work with the Trust (and on what kind of work) to the Director.
Join our skills pool of specialist consultants In addition, NECT is looking to develop its skills pool of specialist consultants to work within our bespoke project teams. Such is the diversity of what we do that the discipline we need cover all aspects of the historic environment. However, mainstream conservation management planning is always a mainstay.
Volunteers, interns and secondment opportunities In our commitment to developing in-house learning in all its forms, we are looking to develop our capacity for volunteers, interns and secondments, so if you think this is something you'd like to explore, please contact the Director with an outline of what you are interested in and what you propose.

All expressions of interest and applications will be in confidence. Email Graham Bell at graham.bell@nect.org.uk or call on 07815 874423

2017 Tyne and Wear Heritage Forum Conference Saturday May 13th - Tickets on sale now! "Celebrating Local Heritage Initiatives"

The second Tyne and Wear Heritage Forum Conference is set to take place in May at Wallsend Memorial Hall. The event will be a celebration of the industrial and social heritage of Tyne & Wear and the wider region and will feature :
• Lessons from the ongoing community projects supported by the Forum
• Presentations of best practice for local heritage groups
• Keynote Speakers - Lord Alan Beith and Viscount Matt Ridley
Our Popular Workshops

The Conference is Supported by Historic England

Free Car Parking will be available on the nearby old Swan Hunters site

The Full Conference Programme is shown below

Conference Programme
9.00 Optional Tour of Segedunum by the Friends of Segedunum
9.45 Registration and Coffee
10.00 Conference Launch and Introduction - John Daniels - Chair Tyne & Wear Heritage Forum
10.05 "Heritage of Wallsend Memorial Hall" - Councillor Gary Madden
10.15 "A Year in Review" - Martin Hulse - Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust
10.30 "300 Years of Steam on the Tyne" - The Viscount Matt Ridley DL - Keynote Speaker
11.15 Workshops* & Coffee Break
12.15 HeritageAct! - The First Year" - Tyne & Wear Heritage Forum
12.45 "Great Exhibition of the North 2018" - Carol Bell - Executive Director, Great Exhibition of the North
1.00 Lunch & Optional Tour to the Buddle Centre with TWBPT & Wallsend LHS
2.00 12.15 HeritageAct! - The First Year - Part 2" - Tyne & Wear Heritage Forum
2.30 "Legacy of Methodist Buildings" - The Rt Hon. the Lord Alan Beith - Keynote Speaker
3.15 Workshops* & Coffee Break
4.15 HeritageAct! Awards & Closing - Keynote Speaker TBC.
5.00 Close
* Workshops
1. "Enriching The List" - Historic England
2. "Heritage Funding" - Heritage Lottery Fund
3. "Bridging the Gap" - Workers Education Association
4. More TBC.
Displays & Stands
Wallsend Local History Society
Northumberland & Newcastle Society
Workers Education Association
Friends of Segedunum

Click To Buy Tickets Through Eventbrite Now

Grant offered to explore vision for future use of Camp Farm Maryport

We are delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund to help identify the best uses for our victorian farm buildings and the wider site at Maryport. We will be exploring how the historic farm buildings can play their part in the local community, through education and learning,incorporating the unique landscape, archaeology and heritage contained there to best effect. We will be building on the consultations we have already undertaken ranging from the local primary school to international experts and coming up with a srategy, business case and programme for implementation. More information on Camp Farm and the full press release can be seen on the project page

funder's logo

Building repairs start on Aged Seamen's Homes, Trafalgar Square, Sunderland

entrance to site with scaffolding in distanceNECT are continuing their project co-ordination role for the Trustees of the Sunderland Aged Seamen's Homes grade 2 listed property in Sunderland. Following on from initial survey and inspection work aimed at identifying the root cause of damp problems that have developed over a period of years, work is now starting on site to eradicate these problems and improve the conditions for the residents living in these flats.
More information can be found on our project page

Port Carlisle Community Celebration April 7th and 8th

Final stages for the planning of the celebratory event to mark the conclusion of the Port Carlisle: A small village with a big History! project are in hand. This event is being funded through The Big Lottery and our thanks go to all the lottery players who are supporting us by buying their lottery tickets.

Big lottery fund logo

First World War trenches set to be explored in Rothbury, Northumberland

Trenches in Rothbury are set to be explored in an HLF funded project this summer, offering new insights into First World War preparations in the region. NECT is delighted to be working with Northumberland County Council, the Forestry Commission and Woodhorn Museum to bring the hidden stories of these extensive trenches to life. There will be temporary facilities on site, and an education programme aimed at all sectors of the community from schools to archaeology groups. More details will be available in due course, with a range of drop in events both on site and in the local community commencing in April/May and continuing until October 2017.