Welcome to the first blog post of the New Forest Heritage Centre. Our aim is to post around one a fortnight, with different members of the team contributing on a rotating basis, so you get a good insight into what we’re all doing, what’s happening and what there is to look forward to.

You’ll be hearing from members of our Board, the executive and our volunteers. Everyone’s motivation and perspective is different, but it is all of these diverse inputs that makes us the team we are.

I’ve now been in post for almost 3 months, and there is no doubt what a committed team I’ve inherited. Hilary was held in such high esteem, so I know I’ve got my work cut out to measure up!

As some of you may know, I’ve recently spent 9 years working in Portsmouth as Head of Commercial for The National Museum of the Royal Navy, and before that 9 years as Operations Manager for Salisbury and then Wiltshire Council. I wanted a role where I could add value and have a positive impact, and the opportunity open to me at the Heritage Centre seemed simply too good to be true. I’m a practising commoner, living in the north of the Forest, and the subject matter and objectives of the trust are very dear to my heart.

I join at such an exciting time for the Centre. Yes, certainly there are all of the challenges that independence brings, but also so many opportunities. New branding, a new outlook, and new approach, and a genuine understanding that a redevelopment will allow the Centre to continue to flourish and build on the successes of the past. The library is an example of this, with offers of acquisition coming in on a regular basis, and a storage system that simply isn’t fit for purpose anymore.

My aim over the next few years is to finalise and deliver the Masterplan, a redevelopment of the centre and a refinement of the physical spaces we have, ensuring our financial sustainability, allowing us to continue to spread the word to both our local community and our visitors. Easily said, not so easily delivered, but it is the dedication and support that I’ve encountered since I started that is the bedrock on which this will be built.

We rely heavily on donations and grants we receive, along with the support from the numerous volunteers we have, those who support us as Friends, and those who support us as donors. Frankly we couldn’t do it without them, and for the contributions made, we are truly grateful. Every piece of support, big or small, is significant, and we really do appreciate it.

I hope to see many of you soon at one of the numerous events we have planned for the near future, some of which you can already buy tickets for on-line via our website, so watch out for those, but if I don’t and you would like to discuss anything, do please pop in and see me, or get in touch [email protected]