New awards scheme for heritage volunteers

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A new awards programme to celebrate the contribution of volunteers across Scotland who work to protect, understand and value the historic environment was launched today (16th August 2014).

The Scottish Heritage Angel Awards will recognise the work of voluntary groups and individuals in protecting and celebrating our built heritage, and will be funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

The Foundation has awarded the programme preparatory funds of £25,000 as well as up to £48,000 in each of the first two years of the scheme. The annual awards programme will complement and run parallel to the existing English Heritage Angel Awards which were founded by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Lord Lloyd Webber) and English Heritage in 2011.

A partnership between Historic Scotland, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, the Scottish Government, Scottish Civic Trust, Archaeology Scotland and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the new awards will seek entries from across Scotland. The first awards ceremony will take place in autumn 2015.

The first such awards in Scotland, the programme supports the delivery of the new Historic Environment Strategy, Our Place in Time, with its strong emphasis on community participation in heritage.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: “Scotland’s heritage is of us all and for us all, empowering, enriching and shaping our communities. The contribution of volunteers and voluntary groups to understanding, protecting and valuing our heritage is tremendous and I am delighted that the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards will recognise that good work.

“This exciting new enterprise is unique in Scotland, and supports the delivery of the new Historic Environment Strategy, Our Place in Time. I hope it will inspire people to get involved in voluntary work which celebrates our heritage.”

John Pelan, Director of the Scottish Civic Trust said: “This awards programme is the first of its kind in Scotland, and will celebrate the valuable contribution of the voluntary sector in championing our heritage. The award categories will be wide-ranging and will give us the chance to recognise the work of a broad selection of voluntary groups and of individuals. The English Heritage Angel Awards do a fantastic job of celebrating community and grassroots projects and I am delighted that the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation will fund this similar initiative to highlight the work of volunteers in Scotland.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “Protecting our architectural heritage is a vital part of our cultural life. Architecture is the most vulnerable art form. Temporary change of taste can wipe away a building that is by definition ​irreplaceable. I am half Scottish, my mother was a Johnstone, and I’m married to Madeleine whose father was a Brigadier in the Black Watch.

​“And so, I am particularly proud to help Scotland’s heritage community celebrate the

​reclamation of some of our most cultural treasures. The ‘Angel’ Awards are a brilliant way of saying ‘Thank You’ to those individuals who have made a significant contribution towards protecting our heritage. I hope, by raising awareness of sites at risk, these Scottish landmarks will be maintained for posterity.”

The timetable for the 2015 Awards will be announced at Scotland’s Community Heritage Conference on 8 November. A dedicated website is currently under development.