Engagement with the local community is vital to the success of a project like this. Locals and visitors alike will have the opportunity to learn more about the history and archaeology of Evesham Abbey. Children on projects, along with local people and visitors too, will be invited to exhibitions, tours and talks. The Trust has already engaged the schools in its ecological and history possibilities.
The community engagement will be delivered by a Community Engagement Worker, who will be in post from December 2020 until the end of the conservation project.
The objectives of the community engagement activity are:
- To engage and enthuse people in the history and archaeology of Evesham Abbey; and
- To publicly share the results of conservation, research and archaeology.
A number of different potential audiences have been identified, including:
- Local schools (including St Mary’s, St Richard’s, Prince Henry’s High School, the De Montfort School).
- Universities (notably the University of Worcester which has an archaeology and heritage department)
- Local organisations (such as the Evesham & District U3A, VEHS, SWAG)
- General public (both local and visitors)
This activity comprises a range of tasks including:
Exhibitions and displays
The trust has a good working relationship with the Vale of Evesham Historical Society (VEHS) who regularly produce displays on local history topics at a range of local venues, including St Lawrence’s church.
Talks and day school
The results of the initial archaeology and fabric repairs are planned to be shared through local events (such as talks and a day school). These will be led by key people engaged in the project, such as the project manager, conservation architect and the professional archaeologist. The history of Evesham Abbey provides a rich range of potential subjects for talks and displays; not least the Legend of Evesham, the foundation of the monastery, the burial of Simon de Montfort and the dissolution. Handouts and materials will be prepared to be issued to schools and the public as the programme/project develops.
A key task will be the provision of tours around the site of Evesham Abbey by the professional archaeologist and his workers. This will allow the site, previously private and locked, is made available at least on a limited basis to the general public.
Regular updates will be prepared for issue to the local press (and will also be shared via a dedicated website and social media).
The results of the fabric repairs and initial archaeology will hopefully produce a range of interesting results. The results of the archaeology might produce one or more academic studies, plus supporting articles, in addition to local publications.