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Future Landscapes Project Timeline

The Future Landscapes Project


The project, now completed, explored how the AONB Network and its national charity could become more resilient and better prepared to address strategic challenges. It is part of a wider ambition of the NAAONB to develop organisational and professional capacity to respond to changing political, policy and fiscal challenges.


This positive development helped ensure that the AONB Network could continue to help support the UK’s treasured national landscapes and ensure their contribution to the economy and well-being of UK society. In order to deliver the Future Landscapes Project, the NAAONB has received support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in the form of a £164,300 Resilient Heritage grant, made possible by National Lottery players.

The Future Landscapes Project consisted of two complementary elements:

  • A crucial review of the sustainability and governance of the NAAONB Charity, investigating the remit, structures, resourcing and accountability of the organisation;
  • A professional and personal development programme, Taking the Lead, delivered to a cohort of AONB staff to help develop greater collaborative working across the AONB Network. Participants from the programme, coming from the 38 AONBs in England and Wales, received personality profiling and coaching. Topic Working Groups were then established to address complex problems facing the AONBs.


  • To establish a more resilient and effective charity that can represent and work for the AONB partnerships and that can tackle current and future challenges, with a different business model and a stronger financial position.
  • AONB Network staff to develop skills to work together and ensure that heritage is better looked after, managed and understood. To establish better ways of addressing collectively the challenges we are facing.
  • To establish interconnected local teams coming together across different geographies and working effectively acting as an decentralised network.


Project Outcomes

Sustainability and Governance Review

The review has brought to light many opportunities for self-reflection and innovation for our organisation. Trustees of the NAAONB have agreed at the last Board Meeting in March to develop a new Strategic Plan as well as designing a process for the recruitment of new Trustees. They are now working through these tasks. 

Taking the Lead

Topic Working Groups have delivered valuable, tangible outputs to support the work of AONBs nationally:

  • a successful communications campaign for the AONBs' 'National Moment' and the commissioning of a poem by Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate;
  • an in-depth survey of the AONB Management Plan Review process followed by ambitious recommendations for improvement;
  • a powerful Income & Funding Toolkit, for all AONBs to take inspiration and learn from each other;
  • a critically important Advocacy Model, which can serve as basis for advocacy on any topic, in a collaborative manner;
  • a most-welcome Induction Pack for all new staff working in AONBs across the country, as well as a series of case studies on successful staff development activities, to share learning and expeirence;
  • an innovative research into evidence needs for the AONBs and how best to address them.

These outputs will be made available on this website soon!

Taking the Lead participants have also formed strong bonds and have understoood the value of collaboration for the landscapes they are managing.

At their last national meeting in February 2020, Lead Officers have pledged financial contributions to support the National Association in continuing to coordinate ambitious collaborative activities across the network of AONBs. More news on this soon!

Click here for the Future Landscapes Evaluation Report

Click here for the Future Landscapes Final Report

Shortlisting logo.png

In July 2020, the Taking the Lead programme was shortlisted for the 2020 ABP Workforce Experience Awards, in the 'Excellence in Change Management' category. Each year, the Association for Business Psychology (ABP) celebrates excellence in applying psychology to business.

Being shortlisted is such an honour for the project team and partners, and it is a testament to the value and impact of the Taking the Lead programme! Winners will be announced at award ceremony during the 20th Annual ABP Conference, on October 14th.



External Partners

matthews_logo.pngMatthews Associates

Matthews Associates are a management consultancy with a wealth of experience in both public and private organisations and an in-depth understanding of rural economies and communities.  Their team specialises notably in helping clients develop successful business strategies, organisational structures and governance.


Odyssey are award winning behavioural change specialists, providing consulting services in Organisational Change (culture change, leadership development, staff engagement, collaboration), Team Effectiveness (working with new, established or project teams) and Individual Effectiveness (leadership development, performance management and business leaders coaching).

lumina_learning_logo.pngLumina Learning

Lumina Learning are a global provider of personalised assessment and development solutions for individuals, teams, and organisations. They design and deliver innovative digital psychometric resources that can be used as part of an impactful solution on top of qualifying and supporting a growing global community of practitioners facilitating such events and programmes.

resources_for_change_logo.jpgResources for Change

Resources for Change is a socially responsible, employee-owned consultancy, which originated in the field of natural resource management and stakeholder engagement over 20 years ago, and retains this focus today.  We have developed a reputation for ‘bridging the gap’ between sectors and creating real and long-lasting results because we work both at grassroots and strategically. We work extensively to support organisations in receipt of HLF funding to deliver heritage and environmental projects, including a considerable body of work relating to monitoring and evaluation.


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