A new, national, engagement programme supporting communities across Scotland to recover from the COVID pandemic through heritage, has been launched by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).
Community Connections is a new unified framework working with community groups and organisations across Scotland to deliver a range of collaborative projects through sharing resources, networks, knowledge, and expertise. The aim is to show how the heritage that matters locally can play a vital role in supporting the post-pandemic recovery – often in surprising and creative ways.
The programme’s initial focus is to develop projects around the following key areas:
- health and wellbeing
- skills and volunteering
- climate change
- community and destination regeneration
In addition to exciting opportunities to develop fresh ideas under the programme, participants can also gain access to HES’s vast network of professionals across Scotland who are looking to help communities recover and thrive.
As well as devising and delivering a range of future collaborative projects, the new, dedicated HES programme will also provide a range of supporting initiatives to benefit local communities. These include a new online ‘Community Connections Forum’ hosting discussions, workshops, and events with HES employees and communities. This will provide an interactive platform for inspiring opportunities and growing collaborations.
The programme will also feature regular online discussion events entitled Scotland’s Community Heritage Conversations, bringing together volunteers, community groups and heritage professionals. The discussions among a partnership featuring HES, Archaeology Scotland, The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, Scottish Council for Archives, and the Scottish Community Heritage Alliance, will aim to celebrate resilience within community groups and examine the connections between heritage and wellbeing, arts, and culture.
Elsewhere, Community Connections will also include HES employees delivering interactive talks to community groups, as well as encouraging partnership initiatives, volunteer engagement and community events.
Commenting on the programme, Alison Turnbull, HES Director of Development and Partnership, said: “Although the initial focus will be on helping with COVID recovery, as the prorgramme develops it will be about ensuring communities can confidently and easily access our knowledge and expertise, so we can prioritise our resources to make a positive difference - connecting and collaborating and using local heritage to have a positive impact across the country. “
Stephen Duncan, HES Director of Commercial and Tourism, added: “Our new programme is not just about the heritage sector, as we are looking at how we can provide a contribution to community recovery across a range of different sectors as well as different themes, such as health and wellbeing by using our Properties In Care and sites to inform and deliver activities, such as organised health walks around our green spaces for example.”