In October 2020, Wessex Archaeology successfully won a bid to access funds from the Cultural Heritage Recovery Fund (CHRF). The aim of the grant is to help Wessex Archaeology to develop initiatives which drive positive changes within the organisation, helping us to provide better experiences for our clients and the public.
Most importantly, it allows us to enhance the quality and range of our digital media content. We want to deliver a broader range of accessible, inclusive and engaging heritage experiences to the public. As a registered charity this is very important to us, and we strive to engage a diverse audience with archaeology, offering experiences that are educational, memorable and add value to people’s lives.
What is the funding being used for?
The CHRF grant is being used to develop areas of the business which have come under pressure due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, we lost the ability to interact with the public face-to-face, something that has always played a huge part in driving our mission. Our activities are designed to connect people and be ‘hands-on’, something which becomes very difficult via a screen!
In response, we are developing innovative ways for people to continue to have meaningful heritage experiences and make connections with others. In fact, our experiments in digital engagement have shown us that it is possible to deliver the benefits of interaction with heritage at a safe distance, and that there are greater opportunities to grow and broaden our audience.
Lizzie Garwood, 2D Animator and Comic Book Artist
Lizzie's first task was to create a digital Christmas message for our followers.
Poppy Marlow, 3D Character Artist and Animator
Poppy's first task was to create a 3D archaeologist.
Sam Place, Videographer and Sound Technician
With lockdown Sam has been doing a lot of video editing, but he has also been working on a new series for our YouTube channel.
New equipment, training, software is also helping the team to deliver new and exciting ways of bringing the past to life!
Office 365 transformation project
With a large swathe of the office-based workforce now working from home, we decided to speed up efforts to improve our internal digital communications through the adoption of Microsoft Office 365.
This collaborative suite of tools is designed to boost our collaboration between teams, productivity, staff engagement and virtual working with client organisations.
Contract Management improvement plan
We developed an ambitious plan to work with Twoplustwo a consulting organisation specialising in quantity surveying and commercial management, on a project to enhance the efficiency of contractual and commercial management within Wessex Archaeology. The plan included the ability to share lessons learnt with the wider archaeological industry.
Commercial management within the construction industry is a specialism within itself: there are numerous methods of procurement, a huge variety of standard and ad-hoc forms of contract and various methods of measurement. The complexities of the commercial process can lead to subtle but dramatic shifts in the risk profile of any given subcontract, including payment terms, liabilities for delays, and responsibility for unforeseen ground conditions.
In their initial work Twoplustwo have identified several key areas of the commercial process that are the root cause of most financial issues. They have devised a project plan to build on the existing control mechanisms we already use, to help us ensure a sustainable future for the company. As the project progresses the key lessons will be gathered together and shared with the wider industry to assist in supporting a viable and prosperous future in the post Covid-19 construction market.
Diversifying income streams
We also identified several opportunities for future business growth, and therefore have bolstered our Marketing and Fundraising capabilities with the employment of two additional members of staff:
Charlotte McAlone, Marketing Assistant
Sara Willis, Development Officer
About the Cultural Heritage Recovery Fund
The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund is funded by Government and administered at arm’s length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.