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Norwich Heart, Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust


HEART to pass on baton after 10 successful years

Thursday, 19th November 2015

After over 10 years of championing the city’s heritage, Norwich’s Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) looks back at its successful projects as it hands on its many legacies, such as the Norwich 12 iconic buildings, which will continue through the work of partner organisations.

Following a strategic review, which considered the challenging economic climate for charities and the decline of funding streams, it has been decided that the trust’s legacies can be delivered in other ways through partner organisations.

Since its formation, the trust has helped to put Norwich on the international heritage stage through its work enabling access and engagement with heritage, working in partnership with local, national and international organisations. The trust has won awards and plaudits for its work, such as the 2014 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award for its SHAPING 24 project, which built on the success of the Norwich 12 partnership.

Over the years, HEART secured over £4m of heritage and tourism investment for Norwich, and developed Heritage Open Days into the largest free heritage event outside London, ensuring that Norwich is now in the top 1% for heritage activities and events, according to the Heritage Index report.

The successful Norwich 12 / SHAPING 24 project had a positive impact on economic development, regeneration, education and learning, community engagement, promotion and access, through guidebooks, leaflets, websites, events and festivals, and Culture Matters, an international cultural heritage conference which attracted around 180 heritage professionals from all over the world. The Norwich 12 partnership will continue under the auspices of the Norfolk Museums Service, ensuring that Norwich’s unique offer of the UK’s finest collection of individually outstanding heritage buildings will endure.

Under HEART’s supervision, Heritage Open Days (HODS) in Norwich developed into the biggest free heritage event outside London, which this year saw 247 free events across the county enjoyed by around 62,000 visitors, all made possible by the extraordinary commitment of the volunteers and organisations involved. The Forum Trust have agreed to lead on the future delivery of HODs in partnership with the Norwich City Council’s Tourist Information Centre and other partners, which will enable people to continue to discover Norwich and Norfolk’s hidden heritage. 

Over the past year, in partnership with Norwich City Council, HEART has improved access to The Guildhall through a series of public events including lectures, plays, sleepovers, and the Guildhall Tours thanks to a committed team of volunteers. Norwich City Council continues to own and be responsible for the maintenance of the historic fabric, and Guildhall Enterprises will lease the 15th century building and run some of the activities that HEART has developed, such as the Guildhall Tours, whilst developing some exciting new initiatives and partnerships. The Colman’s Mustard Shop & Museum and the café at The Guildhall, currently trading as Caley’s Cocoa Café, are also now owned by Guildhall Enterprises, which is operated by Britannia Enterprises, the social enterprise behind the very popular Café Britannia. 

Christine Frazer, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “Over the past 10 years, HEART has been hugely successful in delivering a wide range of local and international partnership projects including levering significant external funding to benefit Norwich and the wider area. Like many other charities, HEART is not unique in facing challenges in the ongoing economic climate. Having undertaken a thorough and strategic review of the organisation, in the context of the funding landscape over the next 5 years, HEART has determined that some of this activity can best be delivered through other partners to achieve the charity’s heritage objectives.”

She continued: “We are extremely grateful for all the support that Norwich City Council has given us over the years and particularly with respect to our tenancy at The Guildhall, which has helped increase access to one of the council’s fantastic heritage assets, and also to the University of East Anglia for their funding and support. We would like to thank all our staff, partners, funders, supporters and volunteers for their hard work and backing over the years. We hope that the public will support and encourage our partner organisations as they continue HEART’s legacies.”

The Trustees will continue to explore how other partnership organisations who value the historic environment can work together in the future to continue the strong heritage focus in the city.

Tim Bishop, CEO of the Forum Trust, which will take on the Heritage Open Days legacy, said: “The HEART Board have made the brave choice that the hugely valuable work HEART has done can now be achieved in other ways. HEART leaves the city’s heritage in a far better state than when it started and it’s great to see that it has found innovative ways to keep that work going in the future.” 

Councillor Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to HEART for the fantastic work they have done over the last 10 years. As this new chapter begins, we are delighted to be working in partnership with Guildhall Enterprises and helping them build on the success of Café Britannia.”

HEART’s activities will come to a close by the end of the year, and its final project, Colman’s Connections, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund – examining workers’ roles during the First World War – has recently completed a successful exhibition run at The Forum. The exhibition continues as a legacy at The Museum of Norwich at The Bridewell from 24th November through to 5th March 2016.

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Please see the Q&As below for further information on HEART's legacies.

About Norwich HEART

HEART was set up in 2004 to help plan, regenerate and promote Norwich’s heritage. In the last ten years it has developed an approach to Norwich’s heritage assets as a vehicle for social and economic regeneration. Working together with partner organisations, it has secured major benefits for the city and its people including significant inward investment; implemented local distinctiveness programmes throughout the city (including the Norwich Lanes, Elm Hill and Timberhill plaques and signage, all funded through EEDA); developed the biggest Heritage Open Days programme outside London; run a successful Digital Heritage Project which brought archive film alive for a new generation, and developed the Norwich 12 and SHAPING 24 projects, which won the 2014 Europa Nostra prize and which have contributed to shaping Norwich as destination for heritage tourism.

About the Norwich 12

Norwich 12 is the UK’s finest collection of individually outstanding heritage buildings spanning the Norman, Georgian, Victorian and modern eras, offering walks and tours; visitor attractions; exhibitions; music and performances; cafes and restaurants; and gift shops. It is a pioneering heritage concept that developed 12 of the city’s iconic buildings into an integrated family of heritage attractions, showcasing English urban and cultural development over the last 1,000 years.

Norwich 12 comprises: Norwich Castle, Norwich Cathedral, The Great Hospital, The Halls – St Andrew’s and Blackfriars’, The Guildhall, Dragon Hall, The Assembly House, St James Mill, The Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Surrey House, City Hall and The Forum. The set was joined by ‘baker’s dozen’ addition, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

Norwich 12 was an initiative by Norwich HEART, which secured £1 million from the Treasury’s Invest to Save Budget for the project to initially run 2006-9. The ERDF funding allowed this initiative to be developed until 2011, with further projects under the SHAPING 24 banner, part-funded by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013.

About SHAPING 24

SHAPING 24 – Strategies for Heritage Access Pathways in Norwich and Ghent – was a cultural tourism initiative that linked together the 12 heritage sites in Norwich that make up Norwich 12, with 12 heritage sites in Ghent. The project sought to promote and support the 24 sites, raise the profile of Norwich and Ghent as significant cultural heritage cities and increase awareness of the longstanding historical links between this part of England and the Low Countries. By working together, the two cities benefitted from the experiences and professional expertise in both cities, and applied innovative approaches to the challenges facing historic cities.

SHAPING 24 was led by HEART with Ghent City Council as the partner organisation. The project was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund from the European Union’s INTERREG IVA 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013. The total value of SHAPING 24 was €4.5m, of which Norwich’s share was €2.3m, which included match funding from a variety of organisations.

About Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days is England's biggest heritage festival involving over 1,500 organisations and 40,000 volunteers who organise thousands of site openings and events, jointly attracting over 3 million visitors. It celebrates our fantastic history, architecture and culture; offering people the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences - all of which are FREE to explore. On a national level, the programme is managed by the National Trust and funded by players of the People's Postcode Lottery and Historic England.

About the Heritage Index

The Heritage Index shows Norwich is in the top 3% of areas with the most heritage, and in the top 1% for heritage activities and events. It looks at engagement with heritage as well as historic buildings, sites and blue plaques, and singles out Norwich as one of the surprising star performers, in 3rd position for heritage events and coming in 9th place overall in England.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund  

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery @HLFEoE


HEART legacy Q&As

What will happen to Heritage Open Days (HODs)?

HEART successfully delivered HODs 2015 which delivered 247 free events to over 62,000 visitors. We are delighted that the Forum Trust have agreed to lead on the future delivery of HODs in partnership with the Norwich Tourist Information Centre and other partners to enable people to continue to discover Norwich and Norfolk’s hidden heritage. HEART values the extraordinary commitment of the volunteers and organisations who have helped in the past to grow it to the largest HODs outside London.

What will happen to the Norwich 12?

The Norwich 12 project showcases Norwich’s iconic heritage as the UK’s finest collection of individually outstanding heritage buildings. The project has been very successful in raising the profile of the heritage offer in Norwich to residents and tourists to the area, and the legacy of the Norwich 12 will continue through the support of the Norfolk Museums Service.

What will happen to The Guildhall?

HEART took on the lease for The Guildhall with the aim of exploring the opportunities for improving access in the short and longer term and during this time HEART has delivered a series of public events including lectures, plays, sleepovers, and developed the Guildhall Tours with a committed team of volunteers.  

Norwich City Council will continue to own and be responsible for the maintenance of the historic fabric of the building; and Guildhall Enterprises will lease the Guildhall building and run some of the activities that HEART has developed, such as the Guildhall Tours, whilst developing some exciting new initiatives and partnerships. Studies commissioned by HEART for future use and development will be available to be drawn on.

What will happen to Colman’s Mustard Shop & Museum and Caley’s Cocoa Café?

The legacy of Colman’s in Norwich will continue through Colman’s Mustard Shop & Museum, one of the city’s most frequented tourist attractions. The shop will be run by the newly-formed Guildhall Enterprises, operated by the same team behind the very popular Café Britannia based at the former Britannia Barracks. Guildhall Enterprises will also run the café at The Guildhall, currently trading as Caley’s Cocoa Café. 

Why was Guildhall Enterprises chosen to take over?

Continuing the heritage value of the Guildhall, café and Mustard Shop were fundamentally important in deciding the approach to be taken. Guildhall Enterprises, with its purpose and partnership approach with Britannia Enterprises can not only continue this, but develop it further into a stronger and more vibrant offer for the benefit of the city. It will seek to continue to develop some of the work that HEART initiated such as the Guildhall Tours and opening access, in partnership with the City Council and others, drawing upon 600 years of history at The Guildhall as the city hall, courtrooms and cells.

What will happen to the Norwich Dragon Festival?

The Norwich Dragon Festival was run in 2009, 2011 and 2014 during the winter months, with activities and events linked to the symbol of the dragon, celebrating its role in the heritage and culture of Norwich. The first Dragon Festival won the EDP Norfolk Tourism award for Best Marketing Initiative in 2009. The third Dragon Festival saw over 70 events organised in partnership with 30 venues and organisations, which drew over 99,000 visits from an estimated 38,000 visitors. The Forum Trust will be examining ways to continue the legacy of the Norwich Dragon Festival.

What will happen to the Ambassadors Scheme?

This has been a very successful scheme which has helped to promote Norwich to tourists through our network of around 400 Ambassadors. Born out of the Norwich 12 scheme, it has been delivered in partnership with VisitNorwich Ltd to date. The Trustees are exploring with HEART’s partners how this might continue in the future.  

What will happen to the Supporters Scheme?

HEART is very grateful for the backing and financial support from members of this scheme. This scheme will close and supporters will receive full or pro-rata refunds depending on their renewal dates.  

What will happen to the Blue Plaques scheme?

HEART has installed over 40 blue plaques detailing Norwich’s heritage assets, as well as production of a related publication and trail. The existing plaques will remain in situ as a legacy of HEART’s work.

What will happen to the publications produced by HEART?

HEART produced a range of merchandise which celebrates many aspects of the city's heritage. This included award-winning books (including Strangers – A History of Norwich’s Incomers; The Medieval Churches of the City of Norwich, The Norwich 12 Guidebook), trail booklets, postcards and DVDs created by local writers, designers, photographers, filmmakers and volunteers. Stock is currently available through a range of outlets such as Colman’s Mustard Shop & Museum, Norwich Castle and Jarrolds, for example.

What will happen to Archive Alive and HistOracle?

Archive Alive, from HEART’s Digital Heritage Project, celebrated the region’s film heritage in partnership with the East Anglian Film Archive, and showcased previously unseen footage to a wide audience, via local screenings, a cinema bus tour and online presence. The HistOracle project brought together a range of research and information about Norwich’s heritage in a more accessible format. The University of East Anglia will take on elements of both projects to ensure that their legacy continues.

What will happen to the Harry Watson Bursary and legacies?

The Harry Watson Bursary was set up in tribute to the memory of Harry Watson, former Deputy Leader of Norwich City Council and Lord Mayor of Norwich. A well-respected Councillor, Harry worked tirelessly for the city of Norwich and was a passionate advocate for its heritage resources. Through annual grants, the bursary has enabled over 35 local history projects to come to fruition, including research work, publication of books and pamphlets, and development of websites. The bursary is committed to supporting the recipients of this year’s grants, and it is hoped that the scheme will continue to assist local heritage projects under the administration of a partner organisation.

What are you exploring with other heritage organisations?

Norwich’s unique heritage is a jewel in the city’s crown and at the heart of its identity. Many of HEART’s successes (HODs, Norwich 12) have come through organisations working together to deliver a coordinated approach. The Trustees will explore how conservation and heritage-led economic progress in Norwich can continue to be coordinated and driven forward in the future. 

What is happening to the staff? 

The people working at the Mustard Shop and café are transferring to Guildhall Enterprises with no job losses. We are really pleased that the majority of the HEART team have been able to find alternative opportunities and we will endeavour to continue to support the remaining staff in their efforts to secure employment. These staff will leave by the end of the year. 

What are the timescales?

It is anticipated that HEART will conclude its project activity by the end of the calendar year. The Trustees will continue into the early part of 2016 to explore how other partnership organisations who value the historic environment can work together in the future, to ensure that a strong heritage focus for the city continues. We will make announcements about other areas of our activities as they are finalised.