The Foundation’s move to the Corn Exchange – An update from the Executive Director
Our recent move to new offices in the Corn Exchange is already helping to transform the Foundation’s ability to engage with those who we exist to serve. And it is increasing our ability to interact more with the general public, who are curious about their history.
In the short time that we have been operational in the new premises we have already been able to host three events with an international dimension:
A presentation by representatives of the Maine Ulster-Scots Project who discussed their archaeological dig in Somersett, Maine – a settlement of Ulster immigrants dating from the early eighteenth century.
A visit by representatives of Ancestry’s ProGenealogists team (from Salt Lake City and Dublin).
A morning exploring Ulster ancestral research with a group of family historians who are currently touring with the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO).
This is in addition to the already increasing number of personal research consultations that we are providing for local people and overseas visitors interested in their Ulster roots.
This is why the Foundation sought to move to the city centre – to be more accessible to our users and so we can continue to develop more practical partnerships with kindred organisations (e.g. The Belfast Charitable Society (Clifton House), Linen Hall Library, Tourism Northern Ireland, and of course the other organisations with which the Foundation shares the building).
Moreover we have made it easier for ordinary folk to use the services and benefit from the knowledge of the Foundation’s team in the new offices. The central location is easing the burden on our team of volunteers, some of whom are disabled, and for whom the old unit at Malone Road was a less than perfect location.
Furthermore, the installation of a new elevator in the building will soon be completed meaning our accessibility for disabled visitors will be enhanced ensuring the Foundation’s staff can welcome everyone who wishes to call. It also means we have been able to increase the number of intern and placement opportunities for local students, and have had expressions of interests already about the possibility of providing summer internships for some overseas students.
Therefore we would like to offer a huge note of thanks to everyone who has helped to support the move through practical assistance or by ’buying a brick’. Your generosity is greatly appreciated by the volunteers, staff, and trustees. It has enabled the Foundation to open a new chapter in our history, in the sixtieth anniversary year since the organisation was established.
The fundraising contributions have made it possible to complete the move and install most of what we need. We are a little short still of where we would like to be – to date we have raised £27,875, leaving a shortfall of £2125, thus if you think you can help by making a donation, we would be delighted to have you join our band of supporters.
It has been a busy 3 months since we moved to the Corn Exchange (at the end of January 2016), and we have had some fun bringing order to the chaos of storage crates – the joy and despair of moving – with which anyone who has moved house will be familiar.
You can see how we are progressing by visiting our updated photo gallery of images related to the move. And do revisit from time to time, as you will see other important developments taking shape – including the installation of our new library.
Thank you again for generously supporting our fundraising, we hope you can see the positive change and improvements the relocation is already bringing to the work of this charitable organisation.