r e v i e w 15 Welcome Home! Seán O’Reilly, IHBC Director The IHBC has successfully identified itself as the ‘home of the conservation professional’. I want to explain here how our recent work has marked out the IHBC as the home for those with specialist interests in conservation, and to look ahead to how we might support the conservation family. Many join the IHBC for the substantial recognition that our profile and professionalism bring to their career and work. Others appreciate the great value, high quality and relevant support we provide for CPD (continuing professional development). The benefits of IHBC membership are wide ranging: publications, training, information, advice, networking services and, as we are a charity, the good causes we serve. More than ever, conservation professionals seek from us both collective support for their values, and added capacity to help them do their job better. The leading professional bodies in the building industry increasingly reflect the more environmentally aware aspects of the 21st century by extending conservation skills within their membership. We welcome any initiatives that raise standards within professions, although the IHBC continues as the gold standard for the conservation professional. This is for good reasons. IHBC members are uniquely required to demonstrate a suitable level of understanding of the diverse values and potential of place, and they use this to inform their advice on conservation. IHBC’s membership often only commences with conservation skills cultivated within an individual’s own specialist area. Professional or Full Member status registers a capacity and responsibility that extends far beyond a single specialism or discipline. For all that high aspiration, we are also very conscious of the need to welcome the full breadth of interests in our built and historic places. We work closely with partners across those different areas, from substantial professional bodies working in the mainstream construction industry, to forum bodies representing the most diverse of community interests, such as the newly-re-titled Heritage Alliance (formerly Heritage Link), and the Built Environment Forum Scotland. We also take great care to reflect our UK membership in its entirety, although of course there is no single answer to the challenges of devolved interests. Above all, we realise that many of the people who have an interest in conservation but are not conservation professionals as such, can benefit from access to our services. The wider distribution of benefits outweighs any more immediate impact on membership numbers. Support and services While we have always seen ourselves as the ‘home of the conservation professional’, it is only over the last few years as our achievements have become better known that we have secured wider recognition for the primacy of the IHBC. The institute is now established as the home for our members, bringing them together through the services, benefits, advocacy and culture we support. The IHBC NewsBlog, our website’s homepage news service and its associated email alerts, has been our most important recent development in securing that sense of home. It provides a quick, updated distillation of current news for the sector across the UK. The NewsBlog is necessarily selective: we can’t overburden members with the full spectrum The home of the conservation professional free offer! The IHBC offers a unique range of support and services for anyone interested in the conservation of our historic buildings and places. If you’re not familiar with our work, and you’d like to see how we might be able to help you in the future, just contact our national office and we’ll arrange for you to sample some of the benefits of IHBC membership. We hope that, if you like them, you’ll consider joining us and supporting our diverse community of professionals and supporters. We’d also like to show you the kind of home we have created for people who care about our historic environment and the way we look after it.