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Business Training And Support Awarded To 40 Heritage Organisations Across Scotland

Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS), Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS), and greenspace scotland welcome the 40 organisations who will participate in the 18-month NLHF funded Business Support Programme, ‘Surviving to Thriving’ (StT).

At a time when heritage organisations are facing a multitude of challenges caused by the pandemic StT plays a key role through collaboration across the museums, greenspace, and built environment sector, in supporting organisations to develop their resilience through sustainable business models.  With a focus on upskilling the heritage workforce across Scotland the programme invests in individuals and organisations, through building confidence and knowledge in business practice.

The programme will commence in April with BlueSky Experiences delivering the core training across the four strands of the programme: leadership, governance, business planning and local community engagement. City of Glasgow College will be providing additional skills-based training which will complement the core training. Axiom Consultancy have been appointed as programme evaluators.

Fiona Skiffington, Business Support Project Manager said:

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome the 40 organisations who join us for StT. Now more than ever it is vital to support the heritage workforce and organisations to develop business models and skills. Through the programme we are seeking to directly address the skills gap identified by the sector, and through investment in widespread workforce training we hope to support the sector to navigate the challenges of the pandemic and increase their resilience.”

Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“Collaboration is critical in building a successful and resilient heritage sector as we come out of this crisis.  Thanks to players of The National Lottery, this initiative will facilitate cultural, built and natural heritage organisations to come together to develop their business models and support capacity building. We are delighted to be able to help the sector improve sustainability in this way as it has a crucial role to play in supporting Scotland’s economic recovery.”

The programme will be delivered digitally for the time being and will move to face-to-face when possible (as per government guidelines). To enable full participation in StT eligible organisations will be awarded a community grant. Participants on the programme reach right across the heritage sector and the country, yet all are facing similar challenges caused by the pandemic, with many citing the programme as vital for increasing their resilience.

Victoria Collison, Executive Director, Historic Churches Scotland said:

“Historic Churches Scotland is delighted to be selected to participate in the Business Support Programme. Securing the future of these historic buildings is not just about fixing the roof: more than ever, in these challenging times, it requires people with a broad range of skills from business planning to community development.

The programme is unique in providing the training we need for the people who need it, whether they are staff, board members, or volunteers. As an organisation we want to grow and to help more communities use and look after their church building in a sustainable way. The skills we gain from the programme will support not only our own work, but hopefully the work of many other community groups throughout Scotland in the future.”

Alexander Goodger, Museum Manager, Dundee Museum of Transport said:

” The Business Support Programme has appealed to us in particular because our income streams come from our events and ticket sales, income of which was down by 48% last year due to the pandemic. The training on business planning, and community engagement, alongside a community grant will help us to diversify our income streams, trial new ventures and re-connect with audiences locally and nationally for a brighter future.”

Helen Brown, Trust Manager, Water of Leith Conservation Trust said:

“We have many areas of our operation which will benefit from the support offered on the Business Support Programme, as grant support has reduced over the past decade building a sustainable approach to our income streams means we can continue to work with volunteers to conserve and enhance the Water of Leith, operate our Centre and community cafe and deliver our learning programmes. Charities have had to learn to adapt and become resilient to change especially this year, so we are excited to get started on planning a brighter future for our organisation.”