Involving the community
Involving the community is central to the Hilden School Project, and an initial community engagement session was organised just over a month after I started working as a Heritage Development Officer at the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum. This meeting was mainly with members of the Resurgam Community Development Trust and Hilden Community Association and had to be undertaken using Zoom because of Covid restrictions. It was a great opportunity for me to introduce myself to key organisations and individuals who are particularly passionate about the restoration and development of Hilden School, to explain about my role and to listen to everyone’s views and suggestions.
Organising stakeholder meetings
This was followed by two stakeholder meetings held in the Assembly Room at the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum, on 30 June and 28 July. The first of these events was focused on engaging with local communities and individuals, the second event was aimed at organisations and groups with a wider, regional remit but with an interest in the Hilden area.
Chat over tea
These two stakeholder meetings generated lively discussion and afterwards the participants were invited to visit the ground floor display area in the museum, where they could examine artefacts from Hilden Mill, view photographs of the school interior and chat with members of the Hilden team over refreshments. Film footage of the interior of the school and images of the exterior taken by drone were available for the meeting on 28 July.
A promotional leaflet for the Hilden School Regeneration Project was designed and printed in time for these meetings. This gives an outline of the scheme, and reinforces the message that we can all take part and play an active role.
Setting up the HAG
At the stakeholder meetings, a number of people asked to be kept informed about the development of the project, or signed the form we had developed to say that they would like to participate in the Hilden School Heritage Advisory Group (HAG). If you weren’t able to attend the meetings but would like to get involved, please contact me, I will be delighted to hear from you! My details are – Ben Simon, Heritage Development Officer. Phone at 028 9244 7671. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org