What’s on the Horizon?
Finally, people were asked to shift from reflecting on the past to thinking about the future. They were asked, given their roles as umbrella organisations, to think about the areas in which the sector will need support in the future. Whilst energy costs and the need to work sustainably are seen to be of ongoing importance over the next 2-5 years, the other major theme related to building connections. This includes connections:
- With the next generation of volunteers to build long-term community connections.
- With wider audiences through digital connectivity
- With staff through support, benefits and a focus on well-being.
- Through the use of technology to deliver high-quality hybrid events.
- Between online platforms to support services to members.
People also identified the need to be pragmatic about the toll of the last 2-3 years and consider the skills and knowledge needed to enable mergers, to share costs and services or to deal with closures and orphaned collections. They also stressed the importance of looking after people – staff, leaders, volunteers and trustees – who have worked through two back-to-back crises (pandemic, cost-of-living) with the potential of a third (climate emergency) following swiftly.
We hope you will gain inspiration and ideas from this snapshot of the impact of increases in cost-of-living costs on heritage sector organisations, and we thank the facilitators and focus group participants for sharing their views and experience.