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Archaeology Matters

Local Heritage Engagement Network

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The Local Heritage Engagement Network (LHEN) is a project which aims to provide advice and guidance to local people who wish to champion archaeology and heritage in their local areas and make sure that all stakeholders understand the importance of historic environment issues on their doorsteps.

We know that people are passionate about archaeology and heritage and are concerned about current threats posed by cuts and austerity - which are damaging our historic environemtn services. However, we also observe that many people do not know how to get involved or do not feel well enough informed to speak up. The LHEN project aims to build this local capacity to engage in advocacy and campaigning for heritage issues on the ground where local people can make a difference.

Our team supports local groups interested in their historic environment to protect and advocate for their local archaeology, history and heritage, through the provision of practical advice, platforms for discussion and information-sharing, assistance and training.

Our project covers England, Scotland and Wales, and is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

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Project aims

Working with local groups and national and local partners, we aim to:

  • Develop the Local Heritage Engagement Network as a powerful voice for local communities involved in heritage  issues
  • Provide a toolkit of information and best practice guidance to support groups who want to get more involved in speaking up for heritage and archaeology services in their local area
  • Facilitate effective communication between different groups and organisations who are working to protect the historic environment in a variety of ways across the country to maximise impact
  • Raise public 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 public awareness of the impact of ongoing funding cuts to local authority heritage services for the historic environment, and provide support for groups who want to get more involved in debates about heritage services in their local areas

Communicate to local government the vast public interest in archaeology, history, and heritage, and the impact of cuts, and to help advise on models for sustainable delivery of services.

Get your voice heard

Your historic environment and heritage are currently under threat from government cuts and local authority attitudes which do not recognise the importance of the roles it fulfils at the heart of local communities.

The LHEN project wants to get people to join in with advocacy and campaigning to make sure that decision-makers take note. We want people to:

  • Write to their local MPs and Councillors telling them that they value heritage
  • Make sure that all archaeological projects or activities contribute to advocacy aims by communicating effectively with the media and with local authorities
  • Join a local group which is active in campaigning in their local area

The LHEN toolkit provides practical resources and guidance for communities who need support with their campaigns and advocacy work. This toolkit provides information on everything from how to get in touch with your local councillors and Heritage Champions to understanding the planning process, contacting your local media and advice and guidance on effective letter-writing. The toolkit is an evolving series of documents, and is updated regularly working with stakeholders and local people on the ground, so you can be assured the advice is accurate, current and relevant.

Get involved!

The LHEN team members are Rob Lennox and Lorna Richardson. You can email then at You can sign up for the LHEN bulletin by emailing the team.

You can follow the project on Twitter @lhen_cba and follow the LHEN Facebook Page too.

If you are involved in promoting, protecting and looking after archaeological sites in your local areas, and want to be informed of any immediate issues affecting historic environment service provision, or feed into our case studies and good practice to help other groups, please get in touch!

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 Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) and Civic Voice.

Keep us informed!

The CBA Local Heritage Engagement Network is set up to assist local people to campaign for their historic environment. In order to do this we need information relating to when services are under threat from cuts or challenges mounting in particular areas of the country. If you have information that could help us in our investigations you can provide it anonymously by filling in the anonymous form here. We will investigate any information discreetly and can involve local societies and the media in an effort to ensure heritage and archaeology is not an issue that gets swept under the carpet in local authority cuts.

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