The SEECHT project, an exchange visit for staff of European trusts, is underway

Representatives from all partner organisations met in Surrey, England from 14 – 16 June, where partner and co-coordinator INTO provided excellent conditions for the working sessions. The real “work” could finally start: presentations of the exchange programmes, coordination meetings between the host and sending parties, discussing the implementation of the terms of the grant agreement and working with the budget, and above all clarifying the topics to be worked on together.

The first working meeting was held at Polesden Lacey, a country house with magnificent gardens and surrounding grounds, professionally managed and owned by the National Trust of England, Wales & NI. The senior manager gave the group a tour of the property and introduced them to the current organisational and financial set-up of the operation and the strategy for engaging and motivating volunteers.
New to all was the newly launched research and training for staff or volunteers on how to target and present better visitor experience to the properties and gardens to minority visitor groups and provide them with the widest and most interesting range of services.

On the second day, the participants were welcomed and shown around his “kingdom” by the manager of another National Trust site, Hatchlands Park. It is amazing how proud all the staff and volunteers in England are of their properties and gardens and truly consider them their own.
The second working meeting discussed what processes and activities can be used to meet the project’s stated objectives, with participants already directly arranging dates for their placements in their own countries and agreeing on the topics they will work on.

The CNT, as coordinator, pointed out the necessity to prepare the materials and presentations that will be needed for the elaboration and submission of each participant’s own project report and then, of course, also of the overall final report next year.

The results from this project will then be presented to experts, other European Trusts and the public at a closing session – a mini-conference to be held in the spring of 2023 in the Czech Republic.

The project duration has been extended until 2023 with a special meeting of all project members scheduled for June 2023.