The Mearns Heritage Services exists to promote community social inclusion, based on social enterprise principles, with a focus on the 50+ age group in the Mearns, and in line with the National Standards for Community Engagement and specific funding criteria.
The target population is likely to include managers, researchers, contributors or supporters and community members, researching and recording the rich local heritage of their area, and the integrated heritage of the Mearns.
The increase in unemployment of the 50+ population, whether through voluntary or actual redundancy, provides an opportunity to harness the skills and knowledge of this workforce group, and to provide a positive meaningful contribution to be made at a personal, social, and community heritage level. This opens up the potential for identifying and creating new community social enterprises, which make an active self -fulfilling contribution to the local economy, individuals and communities.
Coupled with the budget restraints of Local Authorities, there is a clear statement that Museums and Libraries will be amongst the most deeply affected by the cuts, and there is a risk that we may lose valuable and informed local heritage as a result.
The fact of an ageing population, also means that we have a one off opportunity to capture the oral heritage history, events, people and legends of the area, using the oral traditions of heritage down the years, recording and laying down our heritage for future generations. All client HELP portfolios should include strategies for inclusion, with learning disability groups, physical disability and other vulnerable community members, being provided with new and positive life experiences and opportunities.
The target audience would include school and community groups as well as those already identified above, and each community or special interest group which is hosting a Heritage Project, and the HELP portfolio will be produce with the client, in a community mapping exercise. Every age group in every community will be part of the development and outcomes, using a local template for building community inclusion, and a record of community heritage. The local business community will be seen as a major contributor and stakeholder in the present and future exploration of social enterprise opportunities. Existing Heritage Societies and specialists will be included as working partners as appropriate in the research and development of a Project.
A wide variety of distinguished guests and prominent local “celebrities” will be used at every opportunity to promote and enhance the profile of each initiative.
This will include representative of all political parties, to ensure that community inclusion and consultation is at the core of the current and future community aspirations
The timing of Projects will be determined by the client, but should also take account of funding applications time scales, financial year deadlines, or any other requirements as specified by the client with detailed attention given to research, development, finance, and evaluation of the Project objectives. Using local schools as the core of the working model, means that the educational component is given a high priority, and is manged in relation to the Curriculum for Excellence, and school terms are a useful tool and time scale for Project objectives.
It also means that working with schools, we can include the school holidays to allow for Project work to continue in the down time, and use seasonal times for field trips and research, and winter for collating and recording the written material.
For Project administration, each Portfolio will be built around client need, and will maximise existing community resources for meeting or developing the Project. For Community Mapping the Mearns has been split into will be split into five areas, and thirty locations in order to maximise community resources, and minimise transport and other associated costs.
The areas will be geographically manageable, integrated, and will ensure a whole Mearns approach. Local information points, meeting places, exhibition and heritage sites will be maximised and publicised.
Regular local exhibitions will be a central feature of each HELP portfolio to provide face to face contact, display research to date, and elicit feedback and new heritage information about each Project.
Dividing the areas as described, reduces communication difficulties, reduces travel expenses, and promotes a sense of community identity and inclusion.
School premises and resources can be maximised, through Partnership working with as primary schools, secondary school, and Further Education and Community Education Centres. An administrative, managerial and resource structure is a service provided by Mearns Heritage Services, linking with those already in place, and can be maximised by the Project.
By using a model template, with a primary school at the core, a creative local heritage network can be built, which encompasses existing community activity, and offers scope for identifying where new community or social enterprise options may exist. The mechanics of the development activity are clearly identified in the HELP portfolio plan, and are consistent with Social Enterprise principles and the development of Community Trusts, Community Asset Transfers, and Community Interest Companies. What the portfolio does not do, is to pre-determine the desired business model, for the end of Project direction, but allows organic direction to occur, using the accumulation of skills, knowledge, experience and community aspirations during the life of the Project.
Mearns Heritage Services will provide support in line with the client objectives, and costings will be supplied at the consultancy stage.
Maximisation of income will be achieved by community and Project entrepreneurial activity and sponsorship, supported by grant funding. Experience has shown that the business community responds to sponsorship of small tangible approaches, rather than a contribution to an amorphous total. Sponsorship rather than donations will be the preferred method of support, as sponsorship ties in commitment and support, where donations can often be a one – off event, but nevertheless still welcome!
Existing community resources will be maximised, and existing community groups, schools and heritage societies, will all be part of a comprehensive task force for Heritage research, recording and development.
Reduce, Re – use Re – Cycle, will be key elements in portfolio building exercise, and a key principle will be to ensure maximum financial worth, and best value, and replication and transferability across a range of organisations and areas.
The HELP portfolio will provide clients with:
- A sound and convincing basis for funding applications
- A strategic plan with clear objectives
- The latest Project Management systems
- Review, monitoring and evaluation methodology
- Time management toolkit
- Scoping tools for mapping community resources
- A clear record of individual, group and community achievement
To preserve local heritage both as archival material and as living knowledge transmitted orally and aurally from generation to generation, thereby encouraging social interaction and inclusion, and reinforcing community cohesion and pride.
“Research the past, engage the present, and record for the future.”
The current economic climate has put pressure on voluntary organisations, and a new approach is needed to ensure best value for money from funding bodies, sponsors and the business community.
The promotion and preservation of our Heritage has been gaining in importance and awareness over recent years, and there is a need for communities to value and preserve their unique place in the Heritage iof Scotland and in particular in Kincardine and Mearns.
Mearns Heritage Services can provide consultancy and support for a wide range of Community Heritage Projects using tried and tested methods of successful community engagement to promote Heritage Projects.
The Heritage Engagement Learning Portfolio (HELP) is an innovative approach to successful Project Management in five main areas of Heritage projects:
- Built Heritage, (Monuments and sites)
- Natural Heritage (Landscapes and wild life)
- Maritime Heritage (Coastal and inland waterways)
- Subsea Heritage (Shipwrecks and sea life)
- Rural Heritage (Farming and agriculture)
The HELP portfolio is a bespoke service based around a successful heritage template, and tailored to suit the needs of each specific Project.
As pressure is growing for outcome based evidence of funding applications, this portfolio steers the client through the journey from “Concept to Commissioning”
The Portfolio uses a range of time management, flow chart processes, sequential planning systems, and monitoring, review and evaluation systems, built to accommodate the needs and objectives of communities, individuals and organisations.