I Will Remember Lockdown
Published 16th June 2020
I will remember lockdown for a range of things:
- The explosion of support available – it’s been remarkable to see colleagues, funders, and partner organisations small and large reaching out to share information and ideas. We are a small charity working across many sectors – conservation, community engagement, heritage, construction, tourism, artist tenancies, learning, traditional skills and much more. There are countless people who have shared blogs, twitter threads, training, mentoring and simply TIME – this has been invaluable to navigate a fast moving and complex challenging national context. The flexibility of funders and rapid response to find new ways to support, at a time when our income has suddenly reduced, us has been appreciated.
- Adaptability – our team adapted so quickly to home working, juggling childcare and support for family and friends. Our trustees have embraced new technology to hold virtual meetings, and this has been invaluable to have their support and steer at this time. Our small team looking after our converted historic holiday apartments worked quickly to close these and to manage postponements or refunds for disappointed guests. Our creative tenants (artists, jewellers and craftspeople) in our artist studios at The Platform, Burntisland held their open studios event online, throwing open their doors digitally to showcase their fabulous work. All of this has been possible thanks to the efforts of key workers in essential services – keeping communications, deliveries, food and fuel supplies and above all health services going.
- The continuing clamour for our involvement – it’s been heartening to see people so keen to keep in touch and continue to work with us to move projects forward – demand for our services is as strong as ever. E.g. with our partners we have continued to work remotely with local people in Inverkeithing to develop design proposals that meet their aspirations for an accessible community hub at the A Listed Inverkeithing Town House. At Silverburn Flax Mill we were fortunate to have had a visit from an industrial historian just before lockdown, and it’s been a highlight to hear his understanding of the significance of this building and work with the project team to consider what this means for its future use. Both are projects with the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives – tapping in to the desire we all have for connections with people, for time outside and close to nature, for supporting local high streets and businesses, and for greater understanding of the stories and remains of those that have gone before us.
As the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions begins, the challenges continue. The long term outlook is a significant concern, and in the medium to long term new sources of income are likely to be even scarcer than before. The care we have taken of each other at this time will be crucial to moving forward in the communities we work with. I believe Fife Historic Buildings Trust is well placed to continue to make the case for long term funding, and donations, to support our work of making places live across Fife.
Our very role is to bring together the many talents and skills needed to complete a successful project, e.g. a visionary and committed community, a thoughtful and talented architect and design team, skilled and experienced contractors, flexible and understanding funders, and a cohort of specialists in community engagement, training, learning, business planning, specialist surveys, finance, law, estates, customer support and much more besides. It has always been the shared purpose and collective effort of these disparate sectors that has brought the magic to make our projects happen. I hope we can continue in future to work together to bring cherished historic buildings back to life through new spaces for communities to collaborate, for businesses to thrive, for visitors to enjoy Fife and for everyone to enjoy and learn from the heritage all around us. I will remember lockdown.
Lorraine Bell – Manager, Fife Historic Buildings Trust
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