The Sperrins Gateway Landscape Partnership led by the Drapers’ Towns Partnership Ltd. was a £2 million scheme that aimed to ensure the natural, cultural and built heritage of the Sperrins would be safeguarded for future generations.
The initiative was delivered by a partnership made up of regional and local organisations, community groups, schools, landowners and members of the community with an interest in the heritage of the area. Whilst varied, the projects were all connected by core objectives that ensure the area is protected, treasured and recognised for its character, beauty, history and culture. The partnership included a work based training programme that became known as ‘Up for Work’, and some 70 individuals participated in this scheme. Participants were able to gain experience and accredited qualifications in heritage skills. This included heritage skills for preserving listed buildings, metal work for repair of iron gates and conserving or restoring stonemasonry, brickwork or earthen structures; as well as gaining a sense of achievement at being part of a team working for the benefit of their local area.
Overall the partnership approach to this project has resulted in a number of successful outcomes for participants, 48% of whom went into employment after completing their heritage skills training. The programme has also had successful outcomes for the heritage of the area and for communities, and the value of small built historical features that give an area its character has been established in the perception of the local community.