Disseminating know-how at European level and promoting good practice examples in using a built heritage site of European significance for the furtherance of social integration and citizenship

The value of heritage (the built and historic environment), is widely recognized as an asset which can be utilized to enhance social integration within communities, and to promote a sense of civic pride and identity through developing a better understanding of the environment in which people live. The heritage environment has been extensively used in this way in the UK to successfully develop community inclusive projects to build community cohesion. There is a recognized lack of this expertise in recently Integrated and Accession countries, despite those areas having a wealth of heritage sites of European significance. The purpose of this project is to provide a mechanism for the transfer of know-how based on the UK experience; for the mechanism to be tested and the results evaluated through the implementation of a Pilot Project at Banffy Castle, Bontida, Romania, and to be easily transferable to other countries as a potential model for promoting social integration through the historic environment.

Activities Planned
Three principal focal activities will combine to form the structure of the proposed Project, through which a series of related activities will be fostered. The principal activities will be:

1. To develop a package of data, and information as guidelines of how the built heritage of European significance can be used to influence social integration and citizenship, through the creation of a database of heritage sites and projects involving heritage at a European level related to regeneration through conservation.

Within the UK the historic environment has been widely used, through many diverse initiatives to influence community development, to help build community cohesion, reduce social exclusion, engender pride of place, and raise community expectations and educational attainment. It is proposed to utilise that experience , knowledge and expertise to examine how that can be transferred to the wider European context, and through this to develop Guidelines which can be applied to important sites of European significance  to ensure that the development of such sites presents a mutual benefit for the development of its host community.
To assess the particularities of Bánffy Castle, Bontida, and the rural region surrounding it, a study will be undertaken to help test the guidelines on this region.

2. To test the accessibility and the usage of the Guidelines through the implementation of a pilot project in a candidate country, Romania, at Bánffy Castle, Bontida.

The site chosen for implementing the pilot project of the Guidelines and of the Study is Bánffy Castle, Bontida, Romania. The particularities of this site are:

  • Its location in a rural area with low development potential, having several minorities (as well as the Romanian population, there is a significant number of Hungarian and Rroma )
  • Bánffy castle, Bontida is a listed historic building of European significance
  • The castle has been already partially restored and included in a European professional circuit through the Culture 2000 programme

The Pilot Project will seek to develop social cohesion and citizenship through the implementation of a number of initiatives for community benefit under the umbrella of the Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre at Bánffy Castle. These will be implemented and monitored as a case study in social development, and will involve a number of initiatives:

  • The provision of a Cultural Community Hall as well as setting up other cultural facilities within the castle for the use of the community The proposed areas are located within the former court d`honneur, entrance gate and main building to the castle.
  • Working with local and regional schools in developing Educational Packs for children. 
  • Organising local cultural events, to help the social cohesion of the region.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the results of the pilot project and the integration of the gathered data in the package of the Guidelines.

3. Dissemination of the gathered data and of the results of the pilot project, completing an collating the package of information and training, so that it can be used for further developments of Eastern European heritage in social integration.

  • Presentations at different occasions and places, such as Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) Annual Conference in Britain: and to international conferences in Bucharest and Budapest, and the British Council’s Western European and American headquarters in Brussels.
  • Organising workshops and training sessions for professionals from specialist institutions in France, Ukraine and the Czech Republic.
  • Workshops with universities from South Eastern Europe and other key institutions to train the students in built heritage restoration and its implications on host communities in order to achieve community involvement for social development for the benefit of a larger region.

Where, When and How?
The project will take place mainly in the UK (A1, A2, A3), and Romania (A2, A3). The examples of good practice will be gathered from UK, as having a large experience and expertise in the field. The pilot project will be implemented in Romania, at Bánffy castle, Bontida. The dissemination work will take place in locations as, Brussels, Prague, Bucharest, Budapest
The project will be implemented between June 2006 and June 2007, under the guidance of the project team. International elements will be organised partly at the castle, and partly at international venues, such as, UK, Brussels, Prague, Bucharest, Budapest, etc. and will be organised by the project team assisted by its partners nominated in II4 and II5.

Objectives of the Project
The objectives of the project are related to the importance of the heritage for community life and the explicit recognition of the value of heritage in social inclusion and in the promotion of citizenship:

  • Creation of a useful tool for utilisation of heritage in social cohesion, rural regeneration and citizenship;
  • Providing know how for new member states and accession countries, where because of the previous communist regimes, the built heritage has been neglected, and not considered as an “asset” to be used;
  • Disseminating examples of good practice throughout Central and Eastern Europe, by organising workshops in different locations as well as at Bánffy castle, Bontida.

What results are anticipated on a long-term basis?
By presenting the project to such wide international audience, the guidelines as well as the example of the pilot project can be used a sample for other cultural heritage linked projects, on a European level.

  1. The guidelines may become a useful tool for heritage specialists from Central and Eastern Europe, and the know-how gathered from the implementation of the pilot project can be used elsewhere.
  2. Support for communities in building citizenship and social integration, in areas that are less developed.
  3. Support for heritage in participating actively to the community life, for the benefit of the community.

How will the co-organisers co-operate in the implementation of the project?
The main cooperation will be in gathering data, cooperation in dissemination and in the implementation of the pilot project.
The British co organiser together with his British partners will set up the guidelines, and oversee the implementation of the pilot project, assess its outcomes.
The Hungarian and the Romanian co organiser will participate in the planning and implementation of the pilot project.
All three co organisers will be involved in the dissemination of the results of the project.

What is the added value of the co-operation on a European level?

  • Promotion of the heritage of European significance at community level
  • Social integration of the local and regional community through a project of international recognition.
  • The development of international dialogue, activities and co-operation on a European wide scale for the advancement of social, and environmental policy.
  • Transferring know-how from an EU country to an accession country, fostering the cultural links between Romania, UK and Hungary.

Who will benefit from the project?

  • Professionals active in the field, by enlarging their vision related to the integration of the built heritage into the development of society.
  • Communities having heritage of European significance.
  • National governments and international Institutions through the potential outcomes which may influence national and international policy.
  • Specialists and professionals engaged in activities related to the historic environment, through networking, dialogue and dissemination of information.

Participants who will gain knowledge and expertise through the courses provided, and through international contacts.