News. The Prince’s Foundation to expand heritage craft skills training across Ireland

29th of November, 2021

The Prince’s Foundation has announced plans to expand its heritage craft skills training across Ireland with the launch of a new programme supported by Allchurches Trust. The All-Ireland Heritage Skills Programme will give aspiring craftspeople from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland the opportunity to spend 12 months engaging in collaborative learning experiences while honing their heritage craft skills and gaining invaluable experience working on historic sites.

The course, which will begin in June 2022, has been specifically developed to meet the demand for training in traditional building skills in the Republic of Ireland, extending across the border into Northern Ireland where The Prince’s Foundation already offers heritage craft skills training. The new programme will help preserve heritage skills that are at risk of being lost such as traditional carpentry, lime work, thatching, blacksmithing, and stonemasonry. It will be run in partnership with the Historic Environment Division of Northern Ireland’s Department for Communities and several industry partners across Ireland.

Michael Goodger, Built Environment Education Manager for The Prince’s Foundation, said: “The Prince’s Foundation believes that it is crucial to preserve the wisdom and knowledge that embodies many of the traditional building skills which have shaped our historical built environment. Not only are these skills essential in ensuring appropriate repair and maintenance of traditional buildings can take place, they are also an opportunity to demonstrate how local materials and local knowledge can be utilised in the future as we strive towards a more sustainable world.”

“We are delighted to be collaborating with Allchurches Trust to launch the All-Ireland Heritage Skills Programme. Building on the successes of our previous work in Northern Ireland, we are excited to expand our support for the next generation of heritage craftspeople and look forward to building new connections across the sector.

“During the programme, students will have the opportunity to work towards a qualification in heritage building skills and will benefit from practical workshops, onsite experience at historic sites, lectures and seminars, residential courses at our sites across the UK, and the opportunity to learn from others across their respective trades. To ensure the course is accessible to all, successful applicants will receive a monthly bursary to help cover the cost of travel and accommodation.”

Paul Playford, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust, said: “We are thrilled to partner with The Prince’s Foundation to launch this new programme and expand heritage craft skills training into Ireland. The All-Ireland Heritage Skills Programme will help to ensure that at-risk traditional skills can continue for generations to come, and it will support talented craftspeople to grow and develop their skills which is an investment in the future of the heritage sector. We look forward to following their progress and sharing their stories.”

Allchurches Trust is one of the UK’s largest grant-making charities. Our mission is to equip and empower Christian organisations to have a positive and transformative impact on lives and communities. We welcome applications from all parts of the UK and Ireland, particularly from areas of social and economic deprivation. We support the repair, restoration, protection and improvement of church buildings, cathedrals and other places of Christian worship, especially where those changes support wider community use. Our grants also equip Christian charities and churches to help the most vulnerable and tackle social issues, including homelessness, poverty, climate change and cultural cohesion; and we provide funding for projects that support church growth and leadership and share the Christian faith. We also work with selected partners to preserve the UK and Ireland's rich history through funding to build and protect sustainable heritage skills.

The Prince’s Foundation provides holistic solutions to challenges facing the world today. It champions a sustainable approach to how we live our lives and build our communities, runs a diverse programme of education and training for all ages and backgrounds, and regenerates and cares for places where communities thrive and that visitors enjoy, The charity works nationally and internationally but at the heart of the organisation is the heritage-led regeneration of the Dumfries House estate and its wider community, where its principles and philosophies are explored and put into practice.

In 2018, the charity collaborated with the Historic Environment Division (HED) and Hillsborough Castle on a live construction training programme in Northern Ireland. In 2020, it again worked with HED to develop a new qualifications-based training course in building craft skills in Northern Ireland.

To keep up-to-date with the programme, visit The Prince’s Foundation website.