Published: April 2021
This Communications Toolkit aims to help grantees inform and engage with stakeholders about the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Whoever you’re talking to, the guidance within this document will keep your communications about the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund relevant, clear and consistent.
You will find key messages about the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund and the tools you need to plan and deliver communications effectively. Content includes guidance on acknowledging the support and investment from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund, external communications materials, a communications plan template and a media protocol.
We welcome any suggestions to improve the information provided by emailing the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Summary and Key Messages
This section of the Toolkit provides a short project summary and a set of key messages about the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund. The project summary and key messages should be used in conjunction with the following sections:
- NCHF promotional Guidelines
- Communications Planning
- Working with the Media
Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund Summary
The Natural and Cultural Heritage Strategic Intervention is a new programme of projects, part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which will invest in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to provide more and better quality opportunities for visitors to enjoy natural and cultural heritage assets; encourage people to visit some of the more remote and rural areas; and create and sustain jobs, businesses and services in local communities. The purpose of the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund is to promote and develop the outstanding natural and cultural heritage of the Highlands & Islands in a way that conserves and protects these (hereafter referred to as ‘heritage assets’).
Our definition of natural and cultural heritage is as follows, “The natural heritage includes natural habitats and wildlife, geology and landscapes. Cultural heritage includes history, language, architecture, ancient monuments, historical sites and cultural landscapes and the sectors of theatre, arts and literature. There is a close link between these two and interests often overlap. They are important locally, and on a national and international scale. They provide opportunities for the cultural and creative industries, environmental and tourism sectors.”
Information about the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund can also be found on our website.
NatureScot is the Lead Partner for the Natural and Cultural Heritage Strategic Intervention for the period to 2023. NatureScot will deliver the Natural and Cultural Heritage Strategic Intervention through an open and competitive Challenge Fund. The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund will select projects which benefit more remote and rural areas and demonstrate beneficial impacts such as creating and/or sustaining jobs, businesses and services for visitors in local communities. Projects must also demonstrate how they will improve the quality of visitor experience. This will be an open and competitive selection process to select the very best projects to deliver the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund outcomes. NatureScot will report to The Scottish Government, as the Managing Authority, on overall progress.
The total investment through the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund will be almost £9m by 2023. The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund will provide a contribution of up to 70% of eligible costs. The ERDF contribution is valued at over £7m to 2023.
This set of standard messages describes the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund and the benefits that natural and cultural heritage projects will bring to local communities and visitors across the Highlands and Islands. These messages can be tailored for use with the local stakeholder audiences for individual projects:
- The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund is a new Scottish programme of investment, led by NatureScot, which will sustain jobs, businesses and services (including facilities and/or information) for visitors in local communities;
- (Name of Grantee) is working together with NatureScot and other partner organisations to deliver natural and/or cultural heritage projects that will deliver many benefits for local communities, helping to unlock economic potential and improving visitor experiences;
- These natural and/or cultural heritage projects are part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF);
- Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund projects aim to enhance the visitor experience of the heritage assets of the Highlands and Islands through the sensitive promotion and enhancement of its natural and cultural heritage assets.
- As a result of better quality natural and cultural heritage provision awareness of the distinctive heritage assets of the region will be increased, making them more accessible and better understood.
- Projects will demonstrate sensitive management and sustainable use of the natural and cultural heritage.
This section of the Toolkit provides guidance for applicants as to how logos should be applied on all external communications materials relating to the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund and individual projects. This will ensure consistent messaging reaches all stakeholder audiences.
This should be applied consistently to all external communications materials produced by Grantees. This will be a condition of your contract with us should your application to the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund be successful.
There is no logo for the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund but Grantees should use the NatureScot logo on all external communications materials. Please read the NatureScot Logo Unit Guidelines before using the NatureScot logo. The logo is available to download in EPS and JPEG format from the NatureScot website.
This should always be used alongside The Scottish Government’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) logo. Equal or greater prominence of this logo is required. It is a condition of grant that any assistance received by a project from the European Union through Scotland’s European Structural Fund (ESIF) Programme is clearly and appropriately acknowledged in all publicity material (including plaques and signage), publications, promotional merchandise, websites, information events, and technical/public procurement documents.
The NatureScot and ERDF logos should be clearly displayed on the appropriate webpage(s) to acknowledge the funding support. The ERDF logo should be at least 146 pixels by 109 pixels in size and is required to be placed in the top right hand corner of the webpage and link to the European Structural Funds website.
Use of Gaelic Language
NatureScot, in common with other government agencies, has a Gaelic Language Plan. We are committed to creating a sustainable future for Gaelic, by raising its status and profile and by creating practical opportunities for its use.
Gaelic is incorporated into the NatureScot logo. A Gaelic language version of the ESIF logo is available. We encourage applicants to use the bilingual form of this logo where appropriate, and also to consider Gaelic within their wider communication plans targeting Gaelic speakers and the Gaelic media. In doing so, Natural and Cultural Fund projects will make an important statement about how Gaelic is valued, assist in raising the profile of the language, and create practical opportunities for Gaelic speakers and learners to use their language skills.
Communications planning is a straightforward, step-by-step process that will help applicants clearly summarise what they want to say to their audience about the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund and individual projects and map out how to deliver these messages.
Communications planning is also an ongoing activity. The purpose, audience, messages, and channels may change, but the need to maintain relationships with the media and with key people in the local community remain. So it is important to continue to use and revise the communications plan, based on your experience, throughout the existence of the project.
One way to look at planning for communication is as an eight-step process. The steps are:
- Identify the purpose of your communications;
- Identify your audience(s);
- Plan and design your key message(s);
- Consider your resources;
- Plan contingencies to deal with problems;
- Plan how you’ll connect with the media and other influencers who can help you spread your message(s);
- Create an action plan (tactics);
- Decide how you’ll evaluate your plan and adjust it based on the evaluation results.
The following communications plan template will help you work through and pull these elements together into a ‘living’ document ready for implementation and monitoring of activities.
Communications Plan Template
|Period of Communications Plan|
|Overview of Communications Opportunities and Challenges|
Purpose of Communications
What are the specific outcomes required for the project? Ensure each outcome is stated clearly, detailing what it is that we wish to achieve with this project – what will be different as a result of this work? Please number the outcomes and refer to the number when detailing the target audience and key messages if appropriate.
Who are the target audience(s) for the communications activity? Please describe the audiences as specifically as possible. If there are several outcomes listed for the project, ensure that the target audience is detailed for each one. Please give each audience a number, corresponding to the outcome to which it relates.
What messages are we trying to communicate? Please give each message a number, corresponding to the outcome to which it relates.
What financial and human resources can you commit to communications? Include details of budget, people, staff time. Include other resources such as information, public support, etc.
Crisis planning should be part of any communications plan in order to anticipate problems and deal with them effectively. Cover as many situations as possible and include details of who takes responsibility for what – dealing with the media, correcting errors, etc.
Connecting with the media and other influencers
Establishing and sustaining good and open relationships with individual media contacts, and with influential individuals and institutions in the community you are trying to reach, is a vital part of the communications plan.
Action Plan (Tactics)
This should bring all the above elements together into a plan you can act on. Include details of outcomes sought, target audiences, what your key messages should contain and look like, what channels to use to reach audiences, what problems you might face, budget, timing, staff responsibilities.
By evaluating your communications plan, you’ll learn which activities had the most impact, and which parts of the plan didn’t work, allowing you to make changes to improve communications. Consider formal measurement techniques for measuring results against outcomes – e.g. focus group sessions – or less formal evaluation methods such as assessing media coverage.
Working with the Media
The media have a very important role in communicating information about the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund to all stakeholder audiences. The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund Team values the media as one of its key partners in communication and we will forge strong professional links with local, regional and national media. Every media enquiry must be used as a positive opportunity to get key messages about the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund across to our audiences.
To ensure we work with the media in a careful and co-ordinated way, the following is a protocol that will be agreed between the Lead Partner; NatureScot and applicants. It covers:
- media relations;
- the writing and issuing of press releases;
- procedures for releasing information to the media.
Please note that the central NatureScot contacts for all media relations are Cat Synnot, Publicity Manager and Vicki Mowat, Communications Officer, however, your first point of contact for all matters relating to media relations is the Project and Funding Officer assigned to your project, who will keep our central Communications colleagues informed, when appropriate.
Jim Jeffrey is our part-time NCHF Communications Officer, tasked with raising awareness of the NCHF Projects through blog and video posts on social media;
NCHF Project and Funding Officer contacts;
t: 01738 458559
t: 0131 3162608
t: 01738 458641
When contacting your Project and Funding Officer regarding media relations, please also copy your email to Jim Jeffrey, NCHF Communications Officer; email@example.com and to the NCHF mailbox; NCHF@nature.scot so it can be dealt with if your Project and Funding Officer is out of the office.
Name of Project
The official name of the project is the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund.
The tone of external communications will be positive, open, honest and factual, even if faced with criticism.
Key messages and sound bites
Applicants should use the following key messages as background for news releases and other publicity:
Natural and/or cultural heritage fund projects:
- aim to enhance the visitor experience of the heritage assets of the Highlands and Islands through the sensitive promotion and enhancement of its natural and cultural heritage assets;
- will sustain jobs, businesses and services (including facilities and/or information) for visitors in local communities;
- will deliver many benefits for local communities, helping to unlock economic potential and improving visitor experiences;
- are part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF);
- will enable awareness of the distinctive heritage assets of the region to be increased, making them more accessible and better understood;
- will demonstrate sensitive management and sustainable use of the natural and cultural heritage.
If applicants receive media queries, they should inform NatureScot as soon as possible. When appropriate, broader Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund queries should also be referred to NatureScot. If time allows, send statements to your Project and Funding Officer for review before sending them to the media.
News releases and publicity
As the Lead Partner, NatureScot should always be credited, if possible, in any news releases, articles and other publicity items.
All news releases must acknowledge the funding received from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and include the full name of the fund and the amount of funding allocated to the project. Copies of news releases should be retained in project files for audit purposes.
In describing the project, the following paragraphs should be used:
- The (<add name>) project is part of a new almost £9 million Scottish programme of projects to invest in the Highlands and islands to provide more and better quality opportunities for visitors to enjoy natural and cultural heritage assets. The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund is led by NatureScot is part funded through the European Development Fund (ERDF).
- The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund will encourage people to visit some of the more remote and rural areas and create and sustain jobs, businesses and services in local communities. The purpose of the fund is to promote and develop the outstanding natural and cultural heritage of the Highlands and islands in a way that conserves and protects them.
News releases should be circulated to NatureScot for review and comment (and for a quote to be included when appropriate). When possible, please allow 72 hours for feedback. Please note that email news releases may be sent without logos as plain emails (without attachments) to prevent rejection by the recipient.
News releases: notes to editors section
In news releases, the following information must appear in the “Notes to Editors” section:
The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund is funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with an almost £9 million investment in the Highlands and Islands. The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund will invest in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to: provide more and better quality opportunities for visitors to enjoy natural and cultural heritage assets; encourage people to visit some of the more remote and rural areas; and create and sustain jobs, businesses and services in local communities. The purpose of the Fund is to promote and develop the outstanding natural and cultural heritage of the Highlands and Islands in a way that conserves and protects them.
The natural heritage includes natural habitats and wildlife, geology and landscapes. Cultural heritage includes history, language, architecture, ancient monuments, historical sites and cultural landscapes and the sectors of theatre, arts and literature. There is a close link between these two and interests often overlap. They are important locally, and on a national and international scale.
They provide opportunities for the cultural and creative industries, environmental and tourism sectors.
The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information, visit their website or follow @scotgovESIF.
NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit NatureScot website or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nature_scot
’S e NatureScot buidheann nàdair na h-Alba. Bidh sinn a’ neartachadh àrainneachd na h-Alba agus a’ brosnachadh dhaoine gu barrachd suim a chur ann an nàdar. Tha e mar phrìomhachas againn gum bi nàdar na h-Alba beairteach agus gun dèilig sinn gu h-èifeachdach le èiginn na gnàth-shìde. Tha an tuilleadh fiosrachaidh aig www.nature.scot no air Twitter aig https://twitter.com/nature_scot
Please inform your Project and Funding Officer of any requests for radio or TV interviews.
Please consider, if appropriate, NatureScot staff as potential interviewees. Verbal communications (e.g. media interviews, public talks) must acknowledge ERDF funding support and give credit to NatureScot as the Lead Partner for Natural and Cultural Heritage Strategic Intervention as circumstances permit.
NatureScot’s Gaelic Officer is available to provide Gaelic media interviews. Such enquiries can be managed by contacting your Project and Funding Officer.
Media relations contact details
Please provide contact details for staff who will handle media relations for your projects to your Project and Funding Officer.
Pool video and images, internal video/images captured during the lifetime of the project remain the copyright of the partner organisation. These should be made freely available to NatureScot on request. If NatureScot uses the material, we will credit the partner organisation.
Commissioned or in-house newsletter/magazine articles
Commissioned and website articles should acknowledge the project partners with the agreed information about the project and should refer interested parties to: https://www.nature.scot/professional-advice/funding/natural-and-cultural-heritage-fund-nchf
Applicants should seek to publicise the project in their internal communications – e.g. Intranet, in-house publications - whenever possible. Proofs should be sent to your Project and Funding Officer for review before publication, where possible.
Grantees should be aware that as the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund is a new programme, the guidance will be reviewed as the programme evolves and therefore may be subject to change. The European Union and Scottish Ministers reserve the right to amend the National Rules and NatureScot reserves the right to amend the published guidance during the period of the programme. Decisions to fund Projects will be based on the availability of funding, how well the project matches the Natural and Cultural Fund priorities and its contribution to outcomes as part of the whole Strategic Intervention. These priorities may change during the course of the Strategic Intervention to take into account gaps in meeting priorities in previously funded Projects and not to fund at all. The Scottish Government reserves the right not to award any support at all under this programme.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has changed its name to NatureScot as of the 24th August 2020. At the time of publishing, this document may still refer to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and include the original branding. It may also contain broken links to the old domain.
If you have any issues accessing this document please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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