A lot on the plate (survey and guidelines)

Hi everyone,

Another week, another set of changing circumstances. The 15th July is confirmed for opening of heritage sites and museums in Scotland, with a load of caveats about how you can do it. The 2m rule is looking like it might flex in the next few weeks; one to keep an eye on.

Some of you have asked for a specific set of heritage site guidelines from the high heidyins in the heritage sector. There still aren’t any! Quite possibly it is too difficult to produce something that will fit all. The blog link we gave last week to guidance which Emma Halford-Forbes wrote is the best and will be correct for museums. Here it is again:  https://www.goindustrial.co.uk/our-blog/blog-post/guidance-for-reopening-your-museum Also use the “Good to Go” scheme which you will see further down this bulletin. Otherwise just use common sense and the latest Scottish Government guidelines as they come.

Some good news for all of you who are activity-based and don’t have museums and sites! You are firmly on the radar and serious thought is going into issuing some guidance and ideas. The less good news is that there are no grant streams that we can see for new projects, but at some point that will have to change. The evolution is certainly in the direction of recovery and renewal. Watch this space.

Our Survey
Thank you to everyone who has filled out our survey, we have heard from 60 museums and heritage sites so far. If you haven’t got round to it yet then please do: 
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GQ6HGL3

This is a sneak preview of results. The graph looks quite positive, but the comments show the struggle going on underneath. Getting open is presenting enormous challenges, with concern from, and about, volunteers and their health and wellbeing right at the top of the list, along with practicalities of space and logistics. There is much to chew over and we will pull together the information in a few days time (when the rest of you have filled it in – hint).

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Two more surveys 

Both really important – please do them.
Museums Galleries Scotland’s Readiness to Reopen survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/L7MNCXV
Scottish Council on Archives – all round have a look at what they are doing, they are actively offering a lot of support and planning ahead for communities. Quick survey here https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CommunityArchivesandHeritageGroups2020/  and a link to their website here: https://www.scottisharchives.org.uk/

Funding story of the week       

Well done to Museums Galleries Scotland, the Built Environment Forum (an arm of Historic Environment Scotland)  and Greenspace Scotland for getting almost £500,000 from the Heritage Lottery resilience fund for the heritage sector. The best thing about this is that these organisations have worked closely together to bring this about. A new dawn? Let’s hope so! Here is what MGS says:

The investment from HeritageFund will enable us to deliver an 18-month project to provide Scotland’s heritage organisations and businesses with training to build sustainability. This programme has been shaped by sector feedback, which has highlighted the immediate need for support of heritage organisations to develop sustainable business models, improve their ways of working, and evidence the impact of their role within Scotland’s communities.

The deal is this: 

> This is for training for heritage organisations to help them adapt and build greater resilience – it will not be for activities or capital works.

> There are going to be only 40 organisations which will get funded, and as this covers ALL heritage with green spaces thrown in there will be a lot of competition. 

> Your best bet for getting on this scheme is to collaborate. One single community heritage site or project  will not deliver enough value and realistically will not be successful. If you have a local heritage forum – make contact and ask them to coordinate a group of participating organisations. If you don’t have a forum but want to be part of this, then reach out to neighbouring heritage groups and sites and make a collective application. 

They are already inviting expressions of interest here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/JT8TXQ3
Don’t hang about and get bogged down in detail: if you want to be part of this then get together and simply bang in an expression of interest. Work out the rest later.

Other funding

Theatres etc: £10 million funding for performance spaces has been announced by Creative Scotland. This is great news for some of our folk in the network! https://www.creativescotland.com/what-we-do/latest-news/archive/2020/07/lifeline-support-for-performing-arts-venues Not open for applications yet but keep your eye out.

Heritage Fund emergency funding: the final deadline is 31st July.  Please note that nothing else is currently open in terms of Heritage Fund grants.Business Support Fund: This scheme closes on the 10th July so this is the last gasp.

You apply through your local authority https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-businesses/pages/business-support-fund/Re-opening guidance and supportNo-budget marketing: MGS have produced a ‘top tips for reopening’ when you have no budget. https://www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk/advice/coronavirus-guidance-for-museums/top-tips-for-a-no-budget-reopening-campaign/

Interactive google map: MGS are also going to be co-ordinating a marketing campaign on everyone’s behalf including an interactive google map showing what is open. Info on how to get involved is here: https://www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk/advice/coronavirus-guidance-for-museums/reopening-marketing-support-and-campaign-for-the-sector/

Good to Go scheme: the tourist chiefs have set up a kitemark scheme with a certificate you can put in your window reassuring visitors that you are operating in line with guidelines. It is a checklist process and you can do it here: https://goodtogo.visitbritain.com/your-business-good-to-go-scotland

Some simple straightforward reading

If you are starting to forget why you ever got yourselves involved in this wretched stressful business of heritage, then this will be balm to your fevered soul.

The proceedings from the fabulous conference in November in St Andrews, which rounded off the year of workshops, has been published and you can read it here: http://communityheritage.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/files/2020/06/Community-Heritage-Proceedings-Nov-2019.pdf?_ga=2.167821412.478825539.1593593772-1853331182.1593431696
It is great, and if you feel the need of inspiration or being reminded of why heritage matters then dip into it. If pushed to choose a favourite paper it would be Dr Elgidius B. Ichumbaki’s exploration of community-based research in Africa which has so many lessons for us all. 

It is also for the memory of his colleague Noel Lasway who attended the conference and was an absolute delight. Noel tragically lost his life to Covid-19 just a few weeks ago. A fundraising campaign to help his young family in Tanzania has been set up https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8p3hj9CPBe

Finally – we are in this together

Our world family of communities who care for their heritage is suffering at the moment; from the dreadful virus, from isolation from our family, friends and colleagues who sustain our efforts, and from the difficulty of getting a foothold on the survival and recovery ladders as everyone scrambles.  

It is clear from the survey and from the inbox that many of you are exhausted or low or anxious (or all three) – whether it is re-opening, not re-opening, trying to maintain some activities or just get through. 

To get our feet on the ladder and to come through the stress, we need to reach out and work together, collaborate, talk, share plans. At the moment it is very easy to be totally focussed on the internal survival of your organisation but you can add strength by adding others to you, and yourself to others. Also, now is the time for Forums to lead locally if they can.
Stay well, keep the collective chin up,

Catherine

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