How Brexit affects the Trust

Considering the current turmoil in our political system triggered by the result of the EU referendum, it would be perverse of me not to write about ‘Brexit’ this month.
 
As I write, we are still coming to terms with the implications for the UK of the decision to leave the European Union, and both our main parliamentary parties are facing challenges over leadership. In amongst such issues of international concern and uncertainty it is not an easy task to identify the implications of these high-level decisions for the functioning of organisations such as ours at grass-roots level. 
 
The NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) has issued a document summarising the implications of Brexit for the voluntary sector which underlines the lack of certainty about future impacts. Embedded in the list of bullet points on page 11 is a short paragraph that has big implications for the Trust: ‘Longer-term, end of EU structural funds most significant direct hit should government not establish alternative programmes’ (1)
 
This month I have been finalising the first draft of the Trust’s Fund-raising Strategy, as part of the implementation of the Strategic Plan, approved in April, and so the implications of leaving the EU have been playing on my mind. The Trust derives a large proportion of its income from EU funding through the Basic Payment Scheme farming subsidy, and through agri-environmental schemes such as Higher-Level Stewardship – we currently manage five such agreements at our sites. 
 
As the NCVO document highlights, it is impossible to know for certain how a new UK government outside the EU will handle the issue of subsidies in the farming sector. Most commentators seem to think that some sort of alternative programme will be established, but few think that it will be as generous. Finding alternative sources of revenue funding must therefore be a high priority for the Trust in the coming five years.
 

New in brief

Festival of Archaeology: There are a number of Norfolk events in July taking place under the umbrella of this national festival, including:
  • Wednesday 27 July: Caistor Roman Project talks, walks and exhibitions at Caistor Hall Hotel and the Roman Town
  • Friday 8 July: A walk around the Newland, King’s Lynn’s second medieval town, in the company of Dr Paul Richards
  • Thursday 14 - Saturday 16 July: 'The archaeology of obsidian and flint'  -  a series of events in Thetford and the surrounding area to mark the world's first twinning of archaeological sites: Grime's Graves Neolithic flint mines (Norfolk, England) and Hoshikuso Jomon obsidian mines (Nagano, Japan), organised by Ancient House Museum, Thetford
  • Friday 22 - Sunday 24 July: CITiZAN training at Cley next the Sea, Norfolk to survey the earthworks by Cley beach 
  • Saturday 23 July A test pit excavation in the garden at True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum. 
For full details on all these events go to www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk and search for events in Norfolk.
 
  • Sunday 7th August: The Friends of St Benet’s Abbey Southern Comfort Riverboat trip to the annual open air service at St Benet's Abbey led by the Bishop of Norwich. Trip starts from Horning. Some tickets still available. To book and for more info contact The Friends of St Benet’s Abbey: tfosba@gmail.com or Tel: 01692 632254.