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English Heritage rescues Heritage Open Days

English Heritage has stepped in to save Heritage Open Days from the scrapheap

The future of the national event - England’s biggest voluntary cultural event and attracts more than one million participants - looked in doubt following the collapse of its main backer, the Civic Trust, last month.

However EH has decided to rescue the ‘heritage favourite’ which, during the second weekend in September, will again help open up 3,500 historic and unusual buildings to the public for free.

Among those unlocking its doors is Foster Associates’ Grade-I listed Willis Country Head Office, Ipswich, Suffolk (pictured above), built in 1975.

Katja Condy, Heritage Open Days manager, said: ’When the news of the Civic Trust’s demise broke a month ago, the news came as a shock to thousands of volunteers across the country who were already gearing up for another celebration of their local heritage [later this year]’

‘It put a huge question mark over the future of the event. We are greatly relieved that the programme has found a new home and that we can now focus on making the fifteenth edition of Heritage Open Days another success.’

Steven Bee, director of planning and development at English Heritage, added: ‘English Heritage can reassure all those [including the 35,000 volunteers] who like to take part in Heritage Open Days that it will happen this and every year.’

However no information is yet available about the future of the Civic Trust’s other responsibilities – including the Civic Trust Awards.

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