With the rise of a popular movement to protect the historic environment celebrated on television last night in Heritage: the Battle for Britain's Past, 21st century conservation charities, supported by English Heritage, today launch a new Heritage Help advice portal, bringing together for the first time the expertise offered by heritage organisations and offering support on saving and caring for historic assets.
The free information service, which has been developed by the Joint Committee of the National Amenity Societies (JCNAS), is aimed at local history groups and town and parish councils facing new responsibilities for the care of their historic environment under the recent Localism Act 2011, as well as individual owners of historic properties.
Heritage Help includes advice on:
- working with listed buildings and conservation areas;
- designation of historic structures and sites;
- campaigning and the use of the media;
- developments in legislation, policy and guidance;
- forming local groups;
- undertaking maintenance work; and
Heritage Help will redirect relevant enquiries to the websites of member bodies and associated organisations and will publish news and views from all the partners.
John Sell, Chairman of JCNAS, explains: “We are delighted to be launching this service at the same time as celebrations are underway to commemorate 100 years since the Ancient Monuments Act was passed, creating many of the powers still used today to safeguard the nation’s legacy of historic buildings.”
“The new Localism Act means local communities face new responsibilities to care for their historic buildings and infrastructure. Our new advice service aims to publicise the expertise and services offered by heritage organisations - particularly those in the voluntary sector - to help local communities save and find new uses for their historic assets.
”Heritage Help has been created by heritage professionals. It’s a ‘living tool’ which will continue to be updated, expanded and more interactive.”
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative, says: “National historic societies like the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the Georgian Group, do a great job offering an incredible wealth of support and free advice to people trying to secure the future of their historic buildings. So Heritage Help is good news. It brings together all that knowledge, making it more accessible to local groups caring for their local historic environment and I wish it every success in the future.”
Deborah Lamb, Director of National Advice and Information for English Heritage, adds:
"Groups and individuals who own or care for historic buildings can sometimes find it daunting to source useful information on how to look after them properly. This new website provides practical advice and valuable guidance to point them in the right direction."
JCNAS is made up of: Council for British Archaeology (CBA); Ancient Monuments Society; The Garden History Society; The Georgian Group; The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings; The Twentieth Century Society; and The Victorian Society.
Other partners involved in the development of the Heritage Help service include: Civic Voice, Council for Protection of Rural England (CPRE), Walworth Society, Heritage Trust Network, Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF), Black Environment Network (BEN), ICOMOS UK, Historic Houses Association (HHA), Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), The Heritage Alliance, Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), Theatres Trust, Association of Small Historic Towns and Villages (ASHTAV), Public Monuments & Sculpture Association (PMSA), SAVE Britain’s Heritage, Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and English Heritage.
For more information visit the Heritage Help portal.