Representatives from the World Heritage Youth Ambassadors project in Blaenavon have travelled to Segovia in Spain to address the European World Heritage Association at their annual conference.
The World Heritage Youth Ambassadors project is funded by the Heritage Lottery and run by Torfaen council, and is designed to empower young people age 13-25 to have a voice and participate in the management of the Blaenavon World Heritage Site.
It previously won Best Volunteer Group at the Wales Volunteering Awards in 2016 and representatives were asked to represent the UK at the conference, which brings together more than 20 countries to share best practice regarding their World Heritage Sites, and look at how they can benefit local communities.
Ashleigh Taylor, Torfaen’s heritage officer and Daniel Oliver, Youth Ambassador project officer shared the project’s success in involving young people successfully in the management of a World Heritage Site.
Ms Taylor said:
“It was an honour to be asked to represent the whole of the UK at this prestigious event, and a great opportunity for us to share our success with representatives from across the world.
“The World Heritage Youth Ambassadors project aims to empower young people, giving them an active voice in their community and allow them to make a real difference. The project has gone from strength to strength and we are lucky in Torfaen to have some fantastic young people who are passionate about their communities.”
Councillor Bob Wellington CBE, leader of Torfaen council and Chair of the Blaenavon Partnership, said:
“This is a fantastic project that has made a real difference to the Blaenavon World Heritage Site, and it is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved that it was chosen to represent the UK at this global conference.
“The World Heritage Youth Ambassadors project really demonstrates the value and impact that working proactively with young people can have, and is being recognised as a world leader in the way that youth engagement can influence World Heritage for the benefit of the wider community.”
This year, the Meeting of European World Heritage Associations was organized by the Spanish Group of World Heritage Cities and the Segovia City Council, with the support of the Association des biens français de patrimoine mondial (ABFPM), the Associazione Beni Italiani Patrimonio Mondiale and the Nordic World Heritage Network. The meeting brought together over 50 World Heritage sites across the Europe representing over 20 countries to share best practice regarding World Heritage and local communities. The meeting was centred on the theme ‘World Heritage and local communities: Participation process, social bonds and innovation. European Case Studies’.