An interview with Lady Helen Hamlyn
Recorded for our INTO Online 2021 conference, here are Lady Helen Hamlyn and Dame Fiona Reynolds in conversation.
Lady Hamlyn was an an early supporter of INTO and in this personal reflection, she talks about her love of heritage around the world, and the importance of our work here at INTO.
After the video, there is a short blog in which Dame Fiona shares her thoughts on their long association.
INTO and the Helen Hamlyn Trust
A blog by Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chair of INTO
I met Lady Hamlyn nearly twenty years ago, soon after I became Director-General of the National Trust. She was already a well-known figure in Britain’s cultural movement, and I found her wonderfully enthusiastic, engaging and knowledgeable. And her involvement in and support for heritage conservation across the world is nothing short of inspiring.
It was while I was at the National Trust that INTO was established as an umbrella organisation for the global family of National Trusts and like-minded organisations. Having left the Trust in 2012, I now have the honour to be its Chair.
INTO had existed informally for a number of years but in 2007 it was formally launched in New Delhi. While in India for the conference I met Lady Hamlyn and Shobita Punja from INTACH, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, in Jodhpur. We had the first of many intense, wonderful discussions about INTO’s ambition and vision.
Since then the Helen Hamlyn Trust has supported our biennial conferences in Entebbe, Cambridge and Bali, providing travel bursaries to the many very small and under-resourced organisations who would not otherwise be able to attend. This is transformational, both for those people and the conferences, which benefit so much from their input.
Then, in 2019 we began a new collaboration which has completely transformed INTO. The Helen Hamlyn Trust grant has enabled us to appoint an energetic Deputy Director; establish a technical assistance programme supporting National Trusts around the world in the achievement of their objectives; and develop into an organisation that is visibly and powerfully advocating the ideals and purposes of the National Trust movement all over the world.
This support has truly transformed INTO. We made the important shift from being largely volunteer-led to professional leadership, without losing the spirit that has infused us since the beginning. As a result, our output and effectiveness has more than doubled.
And last year we helped Trusts through the process of post COVID-19 recovery: holding webinars and sharing information, learning from each other as all our members all around the world closed and then reopened; and advocating for the values we all share.
All this has been made possible by the Helen Hamlyn Trust, and we are deeply grateful for their confidence and support.