Northern Ireland: Committee meeting minutes December 2020

Minutes of the meeting of the Committee for Northern Ireland on 1 December 2020 via Microsoft Teams.


  • Mukesh Sharma (Chair)
  • Angelina Fusco
  • Olive Hill
  • Jacqueline Irwin
  • Sheila McClelland
  • Jim McGreevy
  • Darren Rice


  • René Olivieri

Committee Business

1. Welcomes and apologies

The Chair opened the meeting and welcomed everyone including our Chair of Trustees; René Olivieri.  

2. Minutes of the meeting held on 8 September 2020 and matters arising

Minutes were agreed to be a true account of the meeting and were signed in a digital format by the Chair post meeting.

3. Chairs report

The chair introduced his report and the Committee noted:

  • Reference to the reappointment of our Committee member Jim McGreevy – the Chair offered his congratulations along with other members of Committee.
  • Thanks were made to the team for the work that continues at pace and welcomes also to four new members to the team.
  • Attended an outdoor socially distanced event for Templemore Baths.

4. Guest –  Director of Historic Environment, Department for Communities

The Director pointed the committee towards two publications ‘Heritage Delivers’ published in 2018 and more recently a heritage statistics document published in September 2020. Both make the case for the tangible and intangible benefits of heritage. Funding work for COVID-19, the Culture, Arts and Heritage strategy is now being progressed. Wellbeing, placemaking and cultural tourism are key priorities.

5. Corporate Report

The Executive Director, Business Delivery introduced the paper and gave an update to the Members on the continued response to COVID-19. The Committee noted.

  • The previous Head of Engagement for Northern Ireland has been appointed Director of Investment for the UK.
  • The Fund has re-opened for applications albeit in a more restricted format.
  • Larger programmes will reopen in February.

6. Country Overview

Director of Country presented the report.

  • Welcomed four new members of staff to our team within Investment and a further addition to the team in January with a new Public Affairs and Policy specialist working specifically to Northern Ireland.
  • Committee also noted the update for the Northern Ireland Heritage Recovery Fund (HRF), similar to the Culture Recovery Fund in England. Colleagues from across the UK have been involved with this and is a testament to how well we have been supported.
  • Due to the success of the 15-Minute Heritage fund in Wales and the interest from that, a sum of £200k was allocated from Department for Communities for a Community Heritage Fund.
  • Committee also noted the update for the Shared History Fund (SHF) that we are delivering on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office. The Committee will be involved in making recommendations to our Trustees both for the SHF and HRF. .

For Information

7. Communications Report

The Chair highlighted the new report and the work by our new Marketing and Communications Manager for Northern Ireland.

8. Any other business

Committee asked of the possible differences between England and Northern Ireland with the Recovery Funds and what they may have been?

  • The Director of Country responded as to being a very similar experience for Northern Ireland as for  England, a few minor adjustments made in line with local government requirements.
  • We used specific COVID-19 guidance developed by the Department for Communities for Heritage sites in relation to social distancing, pre-planning of events etc.

Meeting ends.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 9 March 2021.