Local schoolchildren learning about Sutton House at an Arts Trust event - the Sky deal will enable the National Trust to continue with this kind of scheme. © NTPL/David Levenson.
The National Trust has announced a sponsorship deal with TV company Sky worth £1 million over the next two years.
The partnership, which is the Trust’s first major deal of this kind, is designed to help create a programme of family events and education programmes that will attract new members and visitors to properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
To kick-start the partnership, Artsworld, Sky’s arts channel, will broadcast a series of documentaries profiling National Trust properties - highlighting the role of conservation in the role of preserving the treasures for future generations.
Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire is just one of the Trust properties to be highlighted in a Sky TV series as part of the deal. © NTPL/Mike Williams
“This important new partnership with Sky allows us to talk to new audiences about our work,” said Anne Dixon the Trust’s Customer Services Director. “It will help fund creative, educational and entertaining activities for families – the fastest growing category of new members and visitors.”
Until the end of 2007, Sky will be the sponsor of the National Trust’s Family Programme, which already includes a range of outdoor family theatre activities such as Easter Egg Hunts and Halloween Trails.
Sky will also support the Trust’s existing Schools Arts Partnership, which has seen students of differing cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds working with artists to explore and discover history where it happened.
More of this kind of thing will be happening at Trust properties this summer. Gladiators at Chedworth Roman Villa. © NTPL/David Levenson
Launched in May 2002, more than 60 schools now take part in the programme via a series of events at National Trust properties throughout the country. The programme also gives the Trust a chance to share how it does its conservation work with young people.
“Sky is delighted to have the opportunity to support the National Trust’s important work,” said Charles Ponsonby, Sky’s Marketing Director. “Just as we’re committed to choice and diversity in television, were helping the National Trust to deliver an exciting programme of activities that helps introduce families to the National Trust and its many fascinating properties.”
The National Trust has already been actively involved in a series of initiatives that seek to attract new people and audiences to heritage. A three-year pilot project called The Untold Story was launched in 2003 and involved 18 National Trust sites in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The National Trust is keen to highlight the role of conservation for future generations. Conservators work on Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. © NTPL/David Levenson.
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund the scheme brought artists from a range of disciplines - from theatre to textiles - to work with local community groups to create new and unusual interpretations of the heritage sites that the Trust maintains.
With the continued funding from Sky, the Trust hopes to continue its remit of broadening the appeal of its properties whilst bolstering the National Trust's mission to be 'Forever, For Everyone'.
The deal comes on the back of a similar announcement by the Science Museum and computer games manufacturer Nintendo who are to join forces in a four-year sponsorship agreement also worth £1 million.
The Sky/Artsworld series National Trust: National Treasures airs in mid-2006 and will feature properties ranging from Castle Drego in Devon to the former London home of Modernist architect Ernö Goldfinger and the Tudor mansion Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire.