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Strategic Plan for 2020-2025 ‘Inspiring people to care for our marine environment’


CONTENTS Foreword 3

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Story so far

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Our Vision, purpose and pillars

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Our Values and approach

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Our Goals – where we want to be by 2025

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National and international context 13

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Support for our work

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Scotland’s marine environment – the context

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SCOTTISH SEABIRD CENTRE

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Foreword

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ur vision of a healthy and wildlife rich marine environment is shared by many people and at the Scottish Seabird Centre we aim to inspire, educate and motivate people to care for our coasts and seas. This strategic plan (2020-2025) is set at a time when awareness of marine environments around the world, and the pressures these are under, is at an all-time high. Despite this, the knowledge about the wonders of Scotland’s marine environment and the natural services they provide to society is arguably less well understood.

We set out our plans for the next 5 years against a backdrop of political, economic, environmental and social change. We are fortunate in Scotland that the Scottish Government has declared a Climate Emergency and has committed to be a leader in tackling climate change, setting legally binding targets to be net-zero in emissions of greenhouse gases by 2045. The Scottish Government has also acknowledged that it needs to step-up to do more to meet the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s targets and its own Biodiversity Strategy vision for 2030 where ‘Scotland is recognised as a world leader in biodiversity conservation. Everyone is involved; everyone benefits. The nation is enriched’. There remains much to do to turn strategies into actions and to ensure that these are adequately resourced. We need to ensure that scientific research, survey and monitoring are championed so that we can discover more about our marine environment, the changes taking place and to better understand how natural effects are related to human induced impacts. As a tourism provider we will also strive to ensure that we offer an informative, educational and fun experience and place the quality of the visitor’s experience at the heart of what we do. IMAGE © ROB MCDOUGALL

DAVID WINDMILL CHAIRMAN

At the Scottish Seabird Centre we will do all that we can to ensure that we inspire people to explore and care for Scotland’s coastal and marine environment and to provide them with the scientific evidence, information and knowledge to make informed choices about the activities that affect the marine environment. Our people (staff and volunteers) are crucial to our success. We will take an inclusive approach, use our tourism asset flexibly, and develop our education, marine outreach and digital resources to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to have the best experience of Scotland’s marine environment.

SUSAN DAVIES CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

STRATEGIC PLAN FOR 2020-2025

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Scotland’s marine environment – the context

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cotland’s marine environment is exceptional and diverse. We have over 18,000km of coastline, in excess of 900 islands, and 61% (468,994km2) of the UK total sea area. The great variety of marine habitats is enriched by the meeting of warm water from the south with cold waters from the arctic leading to an amazing diversity of wildlife with over 6,500 species of animals and plants recorded. Our internationally important seabird populations are a good barometer of the overall health of these marine environments and some, like puffins and black-legged kittiwakes are in steep decline. Beyond the exceptionally diverse habitats and wildlife, Scotland’s seas provide vital natural services to society and make an important economic contribution including climate mitigation and adaptation, food provision, renewable energy, coastal defences, education, scientific discovery, wildlife and adventure tourism. Our coasts and seas create a sense of place and define the communities

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that live and work in these environments. But these benefits, and our wildlife and habitats, are under pressure. The main pressures were recently confirmed in a major global assessment of biodiversity carried out by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). These pressures include changes in the use of the seas; climate change impacts such as ocean acidification, deoxygenation, increase in sea level temperatures and sea level rise; pollution including marine plastics; exploitation of marine resources especially our fish stocks; and the spread of invasive non-native species. Some progress has been made towards the protection and management of Scotland’s marine environment through protected areas, coastal partnerships, marine spatial planning and sectoral plans for industries such as offshore wind. However, many of these protective measures, plans and

Bold leadership and actions must be taken to reverse the impact of the climate crisis on our seas and society SA U N D ER S

SCOTTISH SEABIRD CENTRE


IMAGE ©SEAFARI FORTH

partnerships have only been partially implemented leaving our marine environment vulnerable to changes. Located in North Berwick on the edge of the Firth of Forth, our Centre is uniquely placed to highlight the diversity and benefits of Scotland’s marine environment, the pressures on it and to support policy and practice that helps protect these environments now and for future generations. We live in a time of unprecedented political, economic, environmental and social change and so we know that we will need to be flexible in our approach. We may need to adjust our activities to respond to new issues or opportunities as these arise. Nonetheless, this plan gives a strong sense of the direction we plan to take over the next 5 years. Whilst continuing to invest in and offer a well-respected tourism experience, that positively contributes to visitors’ experience in North Berwick, we will also develop our conservation and education activities making these accessible for all. The challenges are immense and will require collaborative partnerships across Government, the private and the voluntary sector – we will lead and support these partnerships at community, regional or national level as appropriate.

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STRATEGIC PLAN FOR 2020-2025


Story so far

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IMAGE © SUSAN DAVIES

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he Scottish Seabird Centre is a conservation and education charity (Registered Scottish Charity no. SCO25837) that inspires and educates people about the Scottish marine environment, motivating people to care for it and supporting conservation projects. Our work is supported by a non-profit making visitor experience, with the income we generate being reinvested directly in supporting our charitable purpose.

Construction began in March 1999 and the distinctive Scottish Seabird Centre building started to take shape and was opened in May 2000, by HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay. Since then the Centre has helped to revitalise the historic harbour area and make an important contribution to North Berwick as a thriving coastal town. Today our work continues to be supported by our Trustees, our people (staff and volunteers), our membership, visitors, funders and donors. We offer a 5-star visitor experience and aim to further develop it as a valued community asset and as a base for our respected conservation, education, science communication and outreach programmes. We will also introduce new digital technologies, both in our Centre and online, to bring both the story of Scotland’s internationally important seabirds and the amazing underwater world of Scotland’s seas closer to people.

The Centre was originally conceived in the late 1980s by a local businessman and community councillor, Mr Bill Gardner. A keen ornithologist, he had a vision to bring the wildlife of the Firth of Forth, especially the internationally important colony of Northern gannets on the Bass Rock, closer to people by using interactive camera technologies. It took a further ten years of hard work by a team of dedicated volunteers and supporters, and the support of Sir Hew Dalrymple the owner of the Bass Rock, to bring the vision to a reality. Since that time, the Northern gannet population on the Bass Rock has grown to become the world’s largest colony – a spectacular sight.

We want more people to understand our marine wildlife and habitats, the pressure these are under, and the actions that can be taken from a global to local scale to help protect and enhance them for now and for future generations.

SCOTTISH SEABIRD CENTRE


OUR ACHIEVEMENTS... •• Bringing people closer to seabirds and marine wildlife for 20 years through interactive camera technology, a 5 star visitor experience, and wildlife tourism boat trips in partnerships with Seafari and ForthWild •• Investment to enhance our visitor and education facilities, including the introduction of the flyway tunnel and 3D Theatre •• Celebrated over 300 volunteer work parties (1200 volunteers) to the islands in the Firth of Forth through SOS Puffin •• Supporting local rangers and groups with invasive species removal and regular beach cleans •• Up to 4000 young people attending our Seaside School every year •• Offering free travel and discounted attendance for 30 schools from the most deprived areas of Scotland •• Innovative live science shows to engage young audiences (6+ years) •• A successful Meet the Scientist programme to make science more accessible to local people and visitors •• Award winning Puffin festival for 3 years with a twitter debate on the marine environment •• Celebrated with 7 young seabird ambassadors •• Support from Founder (52), Life (27), Gold (36) and Silver (1290) memberships •• Volunteers supporting our work with over 3,100 hours of their time every year •• Taste our Best Awarded café with open views across the Firth of Forth •• Volunteers received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

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Our Vision, purpose and strategic pillars IMAGE © PHIL WILKINSON

IMAGE © NICOL NICHOLSON

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VISION

PURPOSE

To help ensure that Scotland’s marine environment is healthy, wildlife-rich, valued and enjoyed by all

Inspiring and educating people about the Scottish marine environment, motivating people to care for it and supporting conservation projects

SCOTTISH SEABIRD CENTRE


IMAGE © SCOTTISH NATURAL HERITAGE

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STRATEGIC PILLARS ❱

Conservation

Education

STRATEGIC PLAN FOR 2020-2025

Community

Experience


Our Values and approach

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ur core VALUES underpin all that we do. We are PASSIONATE about Scotland’s coastal and marine environment, INSPIRING others to explore and care for it by using INNOVATIVE engagement approaches. We are COLLABORATIVE with local and national partners, including the scientific community, to ensure that we are well INFORMED about the current state of Scotland’s marine habitats and wildlife. We are TRUSTWORTHY, acting with integrity and without bias.

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Our APPROACH guides the way in which we conduct our day to day business. We take pride in providing leadership and working in diverse ways, with valued local and national partners, to help people connect to Scotland’s marine environment in ways that best meets their needs.

We do this by being: • Passionate and inspiring people to explore and care for Scotland’s coastal and marine environment. • Collaborative with partners on conservation projects and engaging people to care for, volunteer and act for Scotland’s coastal and marine environment. • Innovative with the educational experience offered in our Discovery Experience, Classroom and outreach programmes for the local community, schools and visitors. • Trusted as a provider of scientific knowledge and information that enables people to make informed choices about the marine environment. • Inclusive by working with people of all ages and social groups to give them the best experience of Scotland’s marine environment.

SCOTTISH SEABIRD CENTRE

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Passionate about inspiring people to explore and care for Scotland's marine environment.

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Our Strategic Pillars – where we want to be by 2025 IMAGE © JOHN HUNT

Conservation

We develop, demonstrate and promote models of conservation best practice and citizen science GOAL: marine habitats and wildlife are adequately protected, recovering and resilient to pressures •

Education

We deliver marine education programmes, science resources and events that are relevant to national education frameworks GOAL: everyone has an opportunity to engage with the scottish marine environment and access to marine educational resources

Participate in projects that help to protect our internationally important breeding seabird colonies and to restore Scotland’s marine habitats. Develop our profile and voice on important marine conservation issues through a range of media channels. Contribute to marine spatial planning to ensure that our seas are sustainably managed; especially in the Firth of Forth and Tay regional plan. Support specific coastal and marine monitoring projects that help build a picture about the health of our marine environment and seabirds. Be recognised as a hub for citizen science projects through direct participation, signposting and creating new engagement resources.

STRATEGIC PLAN FOR 2020-2025

Expand our current indoor and outdoor education programmes by implementing new scheme(s) to increase participation through the secondary years and across generations. Expand our outreach programme to reach more diverse audiences across Scotland through science festivals, community events and clubs. Deliver an enhanced programme of innovative family-based science shows which help raise awareness about the status of the marine environment. Increase the range of educational resources available to people, both digital and physical, to support learning opportunities at home, school, in the community and outdoors.

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IMAGE © SEAN BELL

Communities

Experience

We work in partnership with diverse communities and enhance the experience for visitors to North Berwick

We offer a 5-star visitor experience, are a valued community resource and engage more people through digital technology and media

GOAL: More local people and visitors have a positive engagement with the Centre, and its programmes, and are motivated to help conserve Scotland's seabirds and marine environment • 12

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GOAL: to develop our position as a recognised national marine education and tourism experience that helps people make informed choices about the marine environment

Enhance, and better support, a range of ways in which volunteers and students can engage with our conservation, education and tourism activities. Support community projects that improve the quality of the local environment. Identify and develop local partnerships that help interpret our marine and coastal environment. Establish new partnerships with the scientific community to enhance our reputation as a respected provider of marine science, evidence and information. Create a network of ambassadors that champion the Centre and the marine environment.

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SCOTTISH SEABIRD CENTRE

Offer a high-quality, informative and immersive year-round educational experience, in the Centre and through our digital communications. Invest in our digital resources to engage with people in more creative and innovative ways. Offer a creative programme of events and exhibitions to engage with a wider, more diverse, range of groups. Ensure our Centre is accessible to the local community for joint activities and events. Extend our approach to stocking local and sustainable products in our Café and Retail offerings. Enhance our culture of, and approach to, sustainability through waste reduction, materials use and energy efficiency. Develop further as a national provider of wildlife adventure tourism.


National and international context IMAGE © JAMES GLOSSOP

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ur work makes an important contribution to some of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; both through our direct conservation projects and through our education, science communication and outreach programmes. These Goals define global priorities and aspirations for 2030 and are re-enforced by the UN declared Decades of both Ecological Restoration and Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (20212030). Progress during this period will require action and collaboration by Government, private, public and civic society.

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Our Charitable activities also contribute to the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework Outcomes; especially: • • •

We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment. We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society. We have thriving and innovative business with quality jobs and fair work for everyone.

STRATEGIC PLAN FOR 2020-2025


Support for our work GOVERNANCE: operates in an open, transparent and honest way

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The charity is supported by a Board of up to 15 Trustees and they collectively bring a wealth of experience from the private, public and voluntary sector. The Trustees lead development of the charity’s vision and strategy and are responsible for ensuring that the organisation has the structure and resources for its work. They ensure that the necessary policies and procedures are in place, including ensuring compliance with the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 and best practice guidance issued by the Office of Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

OUR PEOPLE: are credible, valued and motivated, with their contribution recognised and are empowered to act as advocates for the organisation We have a small core team of skilled and knowledgeable people which doubles during the height of the tourism season. We achieve all that we do with the support of a wonderful team of volunteers who undertake varied roles that include supporting our conservation and education activities, fundraising, archiving, administration and welcoming and guiding our visitors. Our people are supported by a senior management team who take overall responsibility for delivery of the strategic plan and who lead on specific strategic pillars. Everyone in our team acts as an advocate for the work of the charity. We strive to ensure that we attract high calibre staff, that roles are fulfilling and our people are fairly rewarded. Our people should feel valued and motivated and know that we will support them with the necessary resources and training to excel at what they do, to be flexible and to embrace change.

SCOTTISH SEABIRD CENTRE

OUR RESOURCES: are sufficient, diverse, sustainable and well managed

We operate in a challenging economic and financial climate. Our ambition is significant and so we also have to ensure that our business model provides the resource that we need to grow the core staff levels that we need, to reflect the service that we provide; especially in terms of our education programmes and science communication hub, whilst being flexible to respond to partnerships and as we build our reputation of providing an asset to the community. We already have a good track record in fundraising and will continue to build strong, collaborative partnerships with organisations that share our vision and work to secure the multi-year resources required to support project delivery. We will develop a more detailed resources model to help support the delivery of this strategic plan considering in this our membership base, corporate and philanthropic support.


COMMUNICATIONS: engage and inspire more people about Scotland’s marine environment

Everything that we do depends on the effectiveness of our communications; whether that is working with our volunteers, membership, funders, partners or the beneficiaries of the activities, projects and services we provide. We communicate science, evidence and information in an unbiased way ensuring that it both helps people to connect with Scotland’s marine environment and to make informed choices about the actions required to protect this natural asset for all. Investment in technology, including our digital presence, will help us to share stories about Scotland’s marine environment in more creative ways and help us to enhance our network of ambassadors and supporters.

MEASURING OUR SUCCESS: we will develop our approach to evaluating our impact

This next 5-year period is one in which we will need to invest more in our performance and impact management culture and capabilities. We will develop a standard set of key performance indicators against which progress against this plan can be assessed by our Trustees, membership and funders. We will be better at telling, in real time, the impact of our projects and will find innovative ways to ensure that those who benefit from our programmes help promote these benefits. We will invest in creating more efficient and accessible management information dashboards and will demonstrably use this management information to inform our decision-making around the partnerships and projects we should engage with, what resources to develop and how best to target our investments in our assets for maximum return. Our decision making will take account of environmental, social and economic benefits. Our performance will also be set out in our annual accounts and annual review as required by Charity Law and the best practice offered by The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

STRATEGIC PLAN FOR 2020-2025

FUNDERS AND SUPPORTERS: we will create a more diverse portfolio of funding to support our charitable activities

We could not achieve all that we do now and into the future without the support of all our members, individual and corporate supporters and funders. We are extremely grateful that you share our vision for Scotland’s marine environment, that you are confident that our activities will have real impact and are prepared to support us in a wide variety of ways. Unrestricted funding is, of course, a prerequisite of the support we require as it enables us to be agile, to respond to new opportunities and increase our overall impact. Our aim is to build a more diverse portfolio of funding and to substantially increase the level of unrestricted funding we secure.

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www.seabird.org