Meet our committees: Maria Adebowale-Schwarte

Maria Adebowale-Schwarte meets a grantee at The Level in Brighton
The new Chair of the South East England Committee explains why heritage needs people from all walks of life.

Why did you want to join an HLF committee?

I have always thought that heritage is very important for people and places. I work in urban placemaking and heritage is at the heart of that. You can’t help create places that people want to live, work and play in without understanding the economic, social and environmental values heritage brings to towns, villages and cities.

What do you like about it?

It's been a brilliant experience; it's great to be part of an organisation which is instrumental in recognising and protecting heritage. HLF has a brilliant wide approach to what heritage is – people can define what it is to them - whether it's oral histories, landscapes, artifacts or art.

“It's important that people from different backgrounds apply to be on the committees - heritage is eclectic and requires an eclectic mix of skills and backgrounds.”

So being on the committee keeps me connected to something really important to me and crucial to people's histories, sense of place and belonging.

What have you learned from the role so far?

The South East committee has a very wide geographical base, from the very rural to the urban. it's exciting to get the opportunity to find out even more about this amazing region.

What has most surprised or challenged you?

I think the challenge for both the heritage sector and for HLF is to make sure we work with the “unusual suspects”. We need to support communities, individuals or heritage projects that haven't been funded before.

What would you say to anyone who is thinking about joining an HLF committee?

Don’t be nervous – do it!

It's important that people from different backgrounds apply to be on the committees - heritage is eclectic and requires an eclectic mix of skills and backgrounds.

Get the CV out, talk to people, talk to me, ask the questions and apply! Don’t think it’s not for you. Even if you don't have a heritage background, do it anyway. Play big.

What is your favourite HLF project?

It’s early days, and I need to be diplomatic. Ask me in three years’ time!

Find out more

Discover more about our South East England committee and find current vacancies on our board and committee recruitment page.

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