The Chairman has encouraged the setting up of a website for the North Craven Heritage Trust for the purpose of making the Trust's activities and reports available to a much wider readership - indeed to the whole world! The wider dissemination of the results of local historical research on life in our area as published in Journals since 1992 is a very worthwhile objective. Although Journals are available to anyone through the British Library, accessibility is not particularly good. The internet is an increasingly common means of information transfer and serves this purpose very well.
A website offers important improvements to the NCHT service to Members - the Trust's objectives, the current programme of activities, the means of contact, the application form for membership, our Constitution, Gift Aid forms, details of material held in the Archive, prior details and later reports on walks with pictures - all these can be very easily displayed on a website. An increase in Membership could thereby be encouraged (even for exiles!) and existing Members will have another avenue to current information. This is not to say that we are about to discontinue printing the Journal and the Annual Programme in the current form, but one can imagine that electronic communication will be increasingly important to us in containing costs.
We have been extremely lucky to have found two Members expert in website and archiving technologies who have been willing to undertake the task of moving some of our activities into the electronic era - Dr Frank Woodhams and Dr David Holdsworth. In this Journal they report on their activities in more detail. The task has not been easy and has taken many hours of thought, experiment and labour. We are very grateful for their efforts.
We have archived back copies of the Journal and inspection will be possible on the website. At the same time as the hard-copy version of the Journal is issued every year we expect that a website version will be made available immediately to members, and to the general public some time after issue. Some Members might be willing to use email to receive information sent out only occasionally; we find it very costly to mail out information and administration costs are rising. Please consider sending an email to the Secretary (put NCHT in the Subject box) for inclusion in the Membership address list so that we can decide what level of use is possible (firstname.lastname@example.org). The use of Gift Aid to allow us to recover tax on subscriptions is important - ask us to provide a form or print one from the website (but only appropriate if you pay tax).
We hope that Members will appreciate giving the Trust wider exposure to the world; comments on the website will be much appreciated. Once set up it is easy to make changes and improvements.
Your attention is again drawn to the offer of a NCHT Bursary to a part-time student undertaking an MA in Local and Regional History at Lancaster University. We seek suggestions for projects leading to a dissertation on a local historical topic. These suggestions will be considered by NCHT and the University and offered to students if appropriate. Please contact the Secretary with any outline ideas.
The need to cover costs of the annual recital has meant that the ticket price will go up from £5 to £7 next year. This covers the considerable cost of transport and refreshments so represents extremely good value still. We aim to make a moderate surplus so that we can make donations to the church and choir to help cover their operating expenses.
M J Slater