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Unveiling our new Learning Centre: Equipping Communities with Heritage Building Skills for a Sustainable Future

The Sustainable Conservation Trust is pleased to announce the establishment of a new space for training within the historic Fort Widley in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Our programme will cover a range of traditional heritage craft skills, construction techniques and provide direct hands-on experience of the materials and tools involved. 


The purpose of this institution is to provide the skills necessary to effectively maintain and manage heritage assets before more serious damage can occur. This Training School is targeted towards volunteer workers and organisations, as well as those seeking to learn skills in support of other educational or long-term employment opportunities, especially women whom are underrepresented in this field but so much to offer. With useful, practical knowledge imparted by skilled Conservation practitioners, our ultimate goal is a renewed awareness and utilisation of traditional construction skills within communities to benefit their shared heritage assets and promoting green building techniques which are informed by traditional building skills and lost heritage crafts.

We envision the future expansion of this programme to cover more complex heritage-focused construction skills, such as those relating to retrofitting and services installation. In addition, we intend to collect and display a comprehensive library of natural building materials and associated information with which we can provide advice and training. Any companies working on the field would like to take part with this initiative or to gain more information please contact us. Email to

Our first training course

The inaugural course in our programme focused on offering a practical understanding of lime mortar and its application in masonry pointing. As part of the course, participants, three staff from Peter Ashley Activity Centres, the Youth Charity who manage Fort Widely and three University of Portsmouth students recently had been provided with direct hands-on experience with the materials and tools involved, further enhancing their understanding and proficiency in this age-old construction technique over two full day course, ready to carry out preventative repairs. We will repeat the course in late summer to train more staff, volunteers.


We recognize that the challenges of maintaining heritage sites are not unique to our location and that many organizations around the world face similar dilemmas. The Sustainable Conservation Trust invite organisations with similar objectives and interests to contact us. We like to assist in establishing site-specific maintenance training programmes tailored to your specific needs and the unique characteristics of your heritage assets. Together, we can work to protect and restore the invaluable pieces of history that make our communities so special. Please do not hesitate to reach out, and let's join hands in preserving our shared past while building a sustainable future.

Join us on this journey of discovery, and together let's build a sustainable future rooted in the rich heritage of our past. Email to

We are very grateful for the support we were given from the community for this unique space, lovely local company Traco   providing socially and environmentally responsible clearance has provided our chairs, storage units, our shelving, lights and tables were donated by generous the iconic  Anglepoise 


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What our trainees say about the course    


" Good course very informative.... was put in little chunks so you can understand it "


" We are all taught theoretically but never worked with mortar before but was really interesting putting the mortar on the wall...


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