Record £12.26 million pledged to the Commonwealth Heritage Forum's heritage skills programme

31 August 2023
Commonwealth Heritage Forum

The Hamish Ogston Foundation has made the largest-ever investment in heritage skills in Commonwealth history.

£12.26 million will be awarded over the next four years to support the Commonwealth Heritage Forum’s Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Commonwealth Heritage Skills Training Programme. The Programme will train more than 3,500 young people in heritage skills in countries where there is little existing capacity to address heritage at risk.

The Programme was launched at the Commonwealth Secretariat in May 2022 and accorded the rare privilege of using Her late Majesty’s name to honour her seventy years of service to the Commonwealth of Nations. Phase 1 of the Programme, funded by £4.6 million, supported trainees in India, Barbados, Singapore, and Antigua. Under the new Commonwealth Coronation Agreement, Phase 2 celebrates His Majesty, The King’s Coronation and His Majesty’s role as Head of the Commonwealth.

The training will develop the hands-on craft skills and the sustainable strategies needed to repair historic buildings at risk and manage change in the historic environment. The Programme will focus on those countries where local stakeholders report the greatest need and where there is little existing capacity to manage or restore heritage at risk. The Programme is committed to helping people from disadvantaged communities and deprived backgrounds and guided by what local communities value.

The practical training will target at least twenty sites over the next four years in the Caribbean West and East Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, including Guyana, Barbados, Antigua, St. Helena, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, India, Pakistan, Fiji and Malta. In addition, £2 million has also been donated towards the reconstruction of Christ Church Cathedral, New Zealand, which was devastated by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake in 2011, including support for heritage skills training.

Philip Davies, the Founder and consultant CEO of the Commonwealth Heritage Forum said:

“Commonwealth countries share a special relationship – each part of an extended family of nations whose lives, histories and futures are deeply entwined. Crafted by local peoples over many generations, this shared built inheritance is a tangible expression of the links that bind us together.”

“This huge increase in funding made possible through the generosity of the Hamish Ogston Foundation will provide a future for the past in many Commonwealth countries and nurture the local heritage champions of the future. It will foster conservation-led, sustainable regeneration helping to build local capacity and create life-changing opportunities for young people in nations around the world.”

Read the full story on the Commonwealth Heritage Forum's website