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Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network


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Presentation given by Steve Capes, Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network, at "Building a Heritage Network" conference in Stornoway, 29 October 2013

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Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network

  1. 1. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network Communities working together to sustain a unique digital archive Steve Capes Cambridgeshire County Council
  2. 2. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network What is CCAN? • A sustainable network of 32 community groups across Cambridgeshire, working together to develop and sustain a digital record of community history for the County on • Although CCAN has been run by its volunteers since mid 2008 (and funded through its volunteer members), Cambridgeshire County Council maintains links and injects extra funding when possible • As a network working with web provider Community Sites, CCAN is part of a strong national network of community archives
  3. 3. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network Background and Beginnings • Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network was created with 2 HLF grants between 2005 and 2008 • Original aim was to add community relevance to an existing network of Community Access Points in Post Offices, pubs, church and community halls etc • Second aim was to encourage the formation of community groups who would form a cohesive network, helping each other and working together • Third aim was to encourage learning around both digital technology and local heritage
  4. 4. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network Your Heritage Project 2005 • Your Heritage bid (up to £50k) submitted mid 2004 • Grant agreed to fund ‘pilot’ for proposed county project to follow a successful pilot • Project plan tested at 7 sites between March and September 05 • 1 Community Archive Officer (& part-time support) 1 day/week per Group over 6 months essential • Funding for artist/schools work and exhibition
  5. 5. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network Heritage Grant Project • Success of ‘pilot’ project drove submission of Heritage bid (£300k) in September 2005 • Delivery of 4 Phases Aug 06 – July 08 • Primary aims: • Develop community archive groups at 40 Community Access Points (incl. 8 Museums) • Upload digital, cross-searchable community archive collections to website • Create links between communities and professional services
  6. 6. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network Building the Network • Creation of customised website to host collections (original site now archived following migration to much improved system at end of 2012). • 2 Community Archive Officers and 1 Archives Liaison Officer were essential to support the development of local archive groups • To ‘bring community archives to life’ the original project funded art workshops in schools and also a number of public exhibitions
  7. 7. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network Community Archive Groups • In the original network 40 groups were created across Cambridgeshire – a wide range of sites, mainly geographical in nature (villages and towns), but also organisations such as: • • • • Addenbrooke’s Hospital MIND (mental health charity) Robert Sayle (now John Lewis store) Romany Theatre Company • Migration to improved site has encouraged lapsed groups back to network, plus the addition of new groups – current strength 32 groups • Groups designed to be self-governing and
  8. 8. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network Community Benefits • Encouragement of social activity within a community and across communities, the ‘network effect’ – improving social links countywide • Adding to community sense of place and sense of past – enhancing community involvement, knowledge and enjoyment of local heritage • Preserving an easily lost local heritage resource in an accessible and sustainable format • Helping group members use existing skills and try new learning
  9. 9. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network How does CCAN work? • Network sustains itself via payments from groups (currently £100 per year per group for webhosting and technical support – ‘network price’ from supplier for a limited function service) • Webhosting and technical support provided by Community Sites ( who offer a higher cost ‘full function’ service to some groups – see Meldreth and Orwell on • Cambridgeshire County Council oversee payments and admin and provide extra funding where possible, staff member non-exec on Committee • Network run by its volunteers via Steering Committee and annual AGM
  10. 10. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network A network supporting itself • As a network CCAN can demonstrate successful ‘self-support’ examples across groups: – Steering Committee – members from a number of groups, meets quarterly – AGM or ‘Forum’ of all groups annually – Technical Support – two members from different groups who offer a helpline to members with problems and also training sessions to new and existing groups – support to new groups from existing groups – exhibitions – our groups have delivered joint exhibitions and events
  11. 11. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network Network challenges • Not everything has been successful! – some groups fail, due to lack of members, problems with funding, dislike of software (although only examples pre-migration) – support from existing groups to new groups doesn’t succeed despite effort – e.g. Stilton – failure to incorporate Norfolk network, despite support from 2 CCAN Committee members – hard to incorporate ‘project’ groups, as falloff of activity once funding ends
  12. 12. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network The future • CCAN is now financially secure with new web provider and is attracting new groups – 32 groups (with potential for more) is strong basis for development with web provider – new committee member (from a new group) keen to develop ‘new business’, working with new communities to generate interest – addition of pages to support WW1 Centenary has generated new content – volunteer committee producing Newsletter to promote a ‘network identity’ for CCAN
  13. 13. Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network Any further queries please contact Steve Capes on 01223 713507 or by email at k