Lottery grant for project

Archie Belaney (Grey Owl) in uniform SUS-140104-151137001
Archie Belaney (Grey Owl) in uniform SUS-140104-151137001

A GRANT has been awarded by the National Lottery to help set up a project to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

Hastings Museum & Art Gallery received £34,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for Hastings Remembers, which is a five-year programme of First World War centenary activities which will take place across the town.

The project will focus on the impact of the war on local communities, starting this spring and running throughout the centenary period until December 2018.

The starting point will be the museum’s own collections, but it is hoped that the project will uncover all those personal and family stories that bring history to life.

The project will give people the opportunity to contribute to it, with lots of volunteer opportunities and training provided in key skills areas such as doing oral history interviews, using social media and leading workshops.

The museum’s project team will be out collecting stories, looking at documents and photographs and helping people find out the role their ancestors played in these world-changing events.

There will be key exhibitions at the museum, as well as a number of pop-up exhibitions and events in community spaces.

A Young Cultural Curators programme will enable young people with a keen interest in history to gain skills and experience to use as they develop their careers. There will also be lots of resources and activities for schools and other educational or leisure groups.

Tracy Hobden, spokeswoman for Hastings Borough Council, said: “The First World War changed the world for everyone, and people from Hastings and St Leonards were a part of these major historical events from the start.

“There are so many wonderful stories to uncover and share, to give understanding and value to the contribution local people made 100 years ago.”

Commenting on the Lottery award, Cllr Emily Westley, the council’s lead member for leisure and amenities, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. It provides us with a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to explore this important part of our national heritage and really give it local significance. We hope the whole town will get behind the project and come forward with their own family stories to build up a complete picture of the experience of the town during the war years.”