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December 14, 2017

Joanna, Europa Nostra (EN) and Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust (OHCT)

Joanna has always been interested in both tangable and non-tangable heritage, how people interact with these and perserving them. She is on the safety council of the EN (for Social and Economics), and local fundraising for OHCT. Both charities were set up to work with upper levels of society, but are changing to professionalise and appeal to all society levels for the future.

Europa Nostra (EN)

Pan European Federation of heritage organisations, founded in Paris 1963, later merging together, its HQ is in The Hague, Placido Domingo is the President. They lobby for protection of cultural heritage. They give annual awards for excellence in protecting monuments and other endangered sites. Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum has a plaque from them! There are influential people in each country who can lobby governments/ relevant bodies to protect heritage.

Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust (OHCT)

Joanna saw several churches in Oxfordshire when she first came here, some poorly looked after. The Trust tries to look after them, Joanna is a volunteer. It is a challenge to maintain them, when communities around them are struggling (ie aging and reducing in size). They fund-raise and help support communities centered around the church (any denomination). In 2016-17, they spent £264K, mostly by grants of £20K (maximum) to communities. The council meets to review applications and decide fundraisers, such as an evening at Blenheim Palace.

Questions and Answers

OHCT – A church can be of any age (ie only 10 yrs old to 100s of years). Money can repair or modernise, just as long as communities can use them and that they are open to the public, additionally, they must not owned by other (wealthy) organisations such as Oxford University. They have been involved in the Threshold Project at St Michaels, Summertown. OHCT has a website for those seeking to apply for funds.

EN – It is also for cultural heritage, not just sites and monuments but costume and customs too, such as protecting old opera sheets (as a recent project).