Well, what a weekend 10 and 11 September was here in sunny Ipswich! The weather was good, the town was full of people and all of the venues and attractions open for the weekend reported best ever visitor numbers! The town centre enjoyed a weekend that included the final exhibition of the Pigs Gone Wild in the Corn Exchange. That contributed to the numbers in town and we benefited from those making a ‘full day of it' by also visiting one or more of our venues.
This year we had thirty-six venues and attractions open plus the ever popular guided walks and the Ipswich Transport Museum bus trips. Something for everyone and feedback informed us that visitors came from far and wide in addition to the many local people. Of particular note for me, as the coordinator for the weekend, was the increased number of families and young people seen at the venues.
Huge thanks are extended to all involved in agreeing to open buildings, provision of stewards, guiding walks and driving buses and volunteers from the committee and membership of the Society. Thanks to Ipswich Borough Council who provide us with valuable assistance in designing our flyers and booklets and support through the team at the Tourist Information Centre.
So what can we do in 2017 to build upon this year's weekend? Firstly, it's time for me to step aside as the lead coordinator.
I have been involved for four years and it is time for someone to take a fresh look and inspire new thoughts and improvements. I will, of course, be available to assist in any way required.
Secondly, when I joined the Executive Committee our late Chairman, Jack Chapman, tasked me with engaging the Society with young people. Whilst I have had some success there is still a desire within the entire Executive Committee and the current Chairman to increase interest in the Society's work and what it may have to offer to young people.
Amongst our membership's families and contacts, could there be students, pupils or youth groups that might consider getting involved as part of a project or particular topic they are studying? Is there something different we could do to increase interest? I would welcome contact from anyone interested in exploring the potential or with any ideas. Members of the committee would be able to support and mentor anyone wishing to get involved. It's a big task to coordinate and any help would be welcome.
Finally from me, if readers can think of any buildings or locations that they may wish to be included for the first time, please just let us know. We are keen to increase our annual ‘offer' and get more buildings open over the Heritage Open Weekends.
Graham Smith HOD Coordinator