Bridgend Borough Council
Awen Cultural Trust
The rural areas of Bridgend County Borough Council have a diverse and rich heritage, shaping the way that people live today and attracting thousands of visitors each year. There are over 40 local history and heritage societies within the Borough.
In January 2012, reach, in partnership with BCBC’s Conservation & Design Team, organised a one day event “This is YOUR heritage… discover it today”. The aim of the event was to bring together rural community members with key practitioners and leaders in the heritage sector to discuss actions for conserving and interpreting the unique heritage of Bridgend County Borough. Raising awareness of the different types of heritage and how it links to food and tourism was an objective, together with providing knowledge about the differing projects taking place locally and elsewhere. “Before the conference took place, many of the groups had little contact with each other,” says Nicola Lewis, reach Out Co-ordinator, reach Rural Development. “They enjoyed the networking opportunities the event offered and realised the benefits of developing a Heritage Network across the County to ensure a sustainable heritage culture within the area,” she adds.
Outcome and Impact
One of the major outcomes of the event was the establishing of a County wide, Heritage Network, which now has over 40 enthusiastic, active members and a steering group that meets on a quarterly basis. Since the formation of the network, they have had their own logo designed and a major positive outcome has been the development of their website, www.bridgendsheritage.co.uk “The website provides an overview of Bridgend’s history, brings together the heritage and history groups from Bridgend County and provides links to other useful websites,” says Yiota Haralambos, reach Rural Development Officer.
The website features digital stories on local legends, an overview of Bridgend’s history through a timeline, together with downloadable heritage walking leaflets, heritage tourism leaflets as well as a childrens’ section with downloadable stories and suitable walks.
The Network organises events that are very well attended. Training workshops are arranged for members and those dealing with social media have proved to be extremely popular.