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Archaeology Matters

Local Heritage Engagement Network

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The Local Heritage Engagement Network (LHEN) is an exciting new community engagement project for England and Wales, led by the CBA, and funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation The project will support local groups across the UK to get more involved in looking after and protecting the historic environment on their doorsteps.

The Local Heritage Engagement Network is raising awareness of ongoing cuts to local archaeological services and how this may impact on your local area. The involvement of local people in debates over these cuts, and how their local historic environment is protected, is more important now than ever.

The project is working with a number of key partners, including the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers (FAME), the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers UK (ALGAO), the Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) and Civic Voice.

Make your voice heard

Over the next four years a toolkit of resources and guidance and a programme of training and workshops will be developed to support the Network.

If you are concerned about a local heritage issue, one way to make your voice heard is to write to your local Member of Parliament. An easy way to contact your MP is through the Write To Them website.

Another effective way to raise awareness of local issues is through the local press. Locality have recently produced some useful tips on how to work with the local press, including an information pack with template press releases and other guidance.

People interacting with their historic environment

How can you get involved?

The Local Heritage Coordinator for the project will be speaking to groups across the country about the work they are doing and liaising with the different project partners.To find out how to join the Local Heritage Engagement Network please get in touch at lhen@archaeologyuk.org.

Come along and meet us and join our practical session at the CBA Forum for societies on 17 May in York.

We are keen to hear from any groups who are already involved in promoting, protecting and looking after archaeological sites in their local areas, and to be informed of any immediate issues affecting historic environment service provision in your local area.

You can follow the project on Twitter @lhen_cba and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cba.lhen.

Project aims

The main aims of the project are to:

  • Develop a new Local Heritage Engagement Network for local groups to support communities involved in protecting and speaking up for local heritage
  • Develop and promote a tool kit of information and best practice guidance for groups who want to get more involved in speaking up for heritage and archaeology services in their local area
  • Support and facilitate more effective communication between different groups and organisations who are working to protect the historic environment in a variety of ways across England and Wales for maximum impact
  • Raise awareness of local Historic Environment Records (HERs) and their vital role in ensuring that the historic environment is properly considered and protected as part of the planning process
  • Raise awareness of the potential impact of ongoing funding cuts to local authority heritage services for the historic environment and support groups who want to get more involved in debates about heritage services in their local areas

Useful resources

This article from British Archaeology (May 2012) gives some useful background about cuts to archaeology services.

Rescue (the British Archaeological Trust) are actively campaigning for the ongoing protection of archaeological services across the country. They have produced an interactive map of cuts to services in recent years. They have also produced a campaigning toolkit for local groups who want to take action against cuts to heritage services. This blog post also gives some useful tips on how to discuss archaeology with elected officials.

The Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) is playing an active role in trying to ensure the ongoing protection of archaeological services. They have compiled some useful information about why local authorities need to maintain their archaeology services.

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) has also compiled a number of useful resources and information about why local authorities need conservation skills.

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