1. Public Services
Some community heritage groups would not consider themselves to have a role in public service. However, the very purpose and aim of these types of groups is to preserve and celebrate the history of the local area and its residents. No matter how much a group interacts with people, the public is vital towards its expansion and longevity.
There are all sorts of ways in which community heritage groups can work with the public – from holding events to inviting people to contact group members with enquiries. All these methods will welcome people into a group, raising its profile and popularity. The public service a group provides is the specialist knowledge of their area, which is invaluable to local and family historians and that can sometimes not be found elsewhere.
However, responsibility is attached to providing any level of public service. The following guidelines will need to be considered by any community heritage group, as there is a duty to take measures to ensure the suitability and safety of premises and situations. Every group will not want to discriminate or dissuade their users from coming to events due to access conditions, which is why issues regarding health and safety will need to be looked at – this may be daunting but entirely worthwhile!
By the end of this section you will:
- Understand the importance of running public events and which will be most suitable (and practical) to organise.
- Know what areas you are responsible for to ensure health and safety and cut down on risks to the public and group members.
- Have considered ways of consulting your service users and putting the results into practice.