Introduction   Overview   The shape of the debate   Themes Theme 1 - A National Heritage Collection Theme 2 - Heritage for Communities Theme 3 Making heritage accessible Theme 4 Heritage and Tourism after 2014    
Introduction Connecting with conservation Case study Land Reform
Advocating Community Interests The options for the Trust Video Package Your views 

In considering how well the National Trust for Scotland currently connects with communities, it is important to remember a few statistics.

With a membership of 320,000 who are prepared to support Scottish heritage in some way, even if it is just by enjoying occasional trips to pleasant places, NTS is Scotland’s largest conservation organisation. Apart from paying visitors who are not Trust members, we are also linked with around 100,000 people who use our countryside properties freely.

OutreachAdditionally, there are 4,000 volunteers who give the Trust the equivalent worth of well over £1 million of their time every year fulfilling a wide range of tasks, without which we would simply cease to function.

We also enjoy the encouragement of Members’ Centres and Friends’ Groups which actively raise funds for individual properties. Only about 10% of the Trust’s income comes from government sources – compared to almost half that comes directly from members through fees, donations and bequests.

Our volunteers, Friends and Members’ Centres have strong affinities for particular properties, often those closest to their homes. Most of our property staff too usually live in the nearest community. Therefore, we can say that although it is a ‘national institution’ the Trust already has great strengths in terms of community connections.  

These connections are not just geographical – we link to communities of interest too that unite people from different places. These can be focused around a common interest about wild land, mountains, gardens or some other aspect of heritage.  Also, if we accept the Scottish Diaspora as another, international manifestation of a ‘community of interest’, the Trust is well-connected here too with its USA and Canadian Foundations and London Committee.  

The question is, as we advance deeper into the 21st century, whether what we do now is enough to satisfy a changing society.