Award-winning heritage project connecting Norwich and Ghent is celebrated

Dr Peter Collins from Europa Nostra(left) presents Michael Loveday, chief executive of HEART and Bar

Dr Peter Collins from Europa Nostra(left) presents Michael Loveday, chief executive of HEART and Bart Doucet from Stad Ghent(right) with the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

An award-winning tourism project connecting Norwich and the Belgian city of Ghent has been celebrated at a ceremony at Norwich Cathedral.

SHAPING 24 links the iconic Norwich 12 buildings with 12 heritage sites in Ghent, and the heritage project was developed by Norwich HEART (Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust) and Ghent City Council.

It scooped a prestigious European prize earlier this year, and on Wednesday there was a special reception in Norwich to mark the achievement. The prize in question was a 2014 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Award which SHAPING 24 won in the education, training and awareness-raising category. It was picked from 160 nominated projects across 30 countries.

Michael Loveday, chief executive of Norwich HEART, said: 'It is extremely rewarding when bodies like the European Union and Europa Nostra recognise the creativity and innovation exhibited by the 12 partners here in Norwich and the Ghent 12, as well as by HEART and Stad Ghent. It also makes us enormously proud that the great heritage cities of Norwich and Ghent, in competition with applicants from 30 different countries across Europe, have received this accolade. Hopefully awards like this will strengthen the city's profile as an international visitor destination and open doors to cultural funding in the future.'

Judges for Europa Nostra said about the project: 'The jury was impressed with the degree of imagination shown in this co-operative programme: educational projects, the use of digital applications, and the organisation of matching public events. The audiences in both cities have been commendably wide, including children and students, families, minority groups, as well as local citizens and visiting tourists. Above all, the venture validates the use of EU funding for incontestably European, as opposed to merely local, benefits, and thus illustrates the power of example at the most relevant level of all.'

• To find out more information about the SHAPING 24 project, visit

• Wednesday's reception also marked the launch of the 2014 Heritage Open Days event in Norwich and Norfolk which runs until Sunday. For on this see pages 14-15.

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• Do you have a heritage arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at,uk