Sharing Heritage is a new funding programme to help people across the UK explore, conserve and share all aspects of the history and character of their local area. With a commitment from HLF of £3m each year, grants between £3,000 and £10,000 will now be available to groups who want to discover their local heritage.
This new programme follows the unprecedented success of last year’s one-off HLF grant scheme – All our stories, which ran in tandem with BBC Two’s The Great British Story: A People’s History, presented by historian, Michael Wood. The scheme was four times oversubscribed and convinced HLF of people’s appetite to get involved.
Helping to launch Sharing Heritage, at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, projects from Northumberland joined others from across the North of England to share their stories with community groups attending today’s event, hoping to apply for funding under the new scheme.
From a fascinating timeline film showcasing Bedlington’s relationship with the Industrial Revolution, the coal-mining industry and the world-famous Bedlington Terrier, to an archaeological project currently focusing on the excavation of a 13th-century fulling mill, recently revealed in the Coquet riverbed at Windyhaugh near Rothbury, the North East projects are all working with communities and young people to explore significant community heritage themes and how these have impacted and shaped the area in which they live.
Michael Wood, HLF’s champion for Sharing Heritage said: “We have already seen just how much people want to be able to delve into their local history and what those fascinating explorations can reveal. Community projects from last year are now underway ranging from a timeline film on Bedlington’s rich heritage, to looking at the lost pubs of Salford that were once at the very heart and soul of the town. I can’t wait to hear about the surprising stories that will come out of this new scheme. It’s the people who own history and this is a great opportunity to share that history with others and future generations.”
Ivor Crowther, head of Heritage Lottery Fund North East, added: “This new scheme will bring the giant jigsaw of our islands’ local stories together to create an unprecedented picture of our past. In the North East, as elsewhere in the UK, heritage means such different things to different people, and this investment will offer a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in their local area. We are looking forward to receiving an exciting variety of applications under this new programme, reflecting the breadth of heritage across the region.”
Malcolm Robinson, chairman of the Bedlington Development Trust commented: “It’s about far more than nostalgia, Bedlington has no leisure facilities or heritage centre, so the project is the ideal opportunity to provide content and create a sense of civic pride.”
Projects are expected to cover a wide spectrum of subject matter but could include exploring local archaeology, a community’s cultures and traditions, identifying and recording local wildlife and protecting the surrounding environment, collecting and digitising old photos, producing local history publications, conserving sites or items of local significance, managing and training volunteers, and holding festivals and events to commemorate the past.