The Future Landscapes Project
The project ran through 2018 and 2019 and explored how the national landscapes network and its national charity could become more resilient and better prepared to address strategic challenges.
This project was part of a wider ambition of the National Landscapes Association to develop organisational and professional capacity to respond to changing political, policy and fiscal challenges.
In order to deliver the Future Landscapes Project, the National Landscapes Association received support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in the form of a £164,300 Resilient Heritage grant, made possible by National Lottery players.
The Future Landscapes Project consisted of two complementary elements:
- A crucial Sustainability and Governance Review of the National Landscapes Association (then the National Association for AONBs), investigating the remit, structures, resourcing and accountability of the organisation;
- A professional and personal development programme, Taking the Lead, delivered to a cohort of national landscape staff to help develop greater collaborative working across the network. Participants from the programme, coming from over 30 national landscapes in England and Wales, received personality profiling and coaching. Topic Working Groups were then established to address complex problems facing national landscapes.
- To establish a more resilient and effective charity that can represent and work for the national landscape partnerships and tackle current and future challenges, with a different business model and a stronger financial position.
- National landscape network staff to develop skills to work together and ensure that heritage is better looked after, managed and understood. To establish better ways of addressing collectively the challenges we are facing.
- To establish interconnected local teams coming together across different geographies and working effectively acting as an decentralised network
Sustainability and Governance Review
The review has brought to light many opportunities for self-reflection and innovation for our organisation. Following the review, Trustees of the National Landscapes Association agreed develop a new Strategic Plan as well as designing a process for the recruitment of new Trustees.
Taking the Lead
Topic Working Groups have delivered valuable, tangible outputs to support the work of national landscapes team nationally:
- a successful communications campaign for the 'National Moment' and the commissioning of a poem by Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate;
- an in-depth survey of the Management Plan Review process followed by ambitious recommendations for improvement;
- a powerful Income & Funding Toolkit, for all teams to take inspiration and learn from each other;
- a critically important Advocacy Model, which can serve as basis for advocacy on any topic, in a collaborative manner;
- a most-welcome Induction Pack for all new staff working in national landscapes across the country, as well as a series of case studies on successful staff development activities, to share learning and experience;
- an innovative research into evidence needs for national landscapes and how best to address them.
Taking the Lead participants have also formed strong bonds and have understood the value of collaboration for the landscapes they are managing.