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The lighthouse and the sea at Orford Ness

HLF’s new First World War programme opens 

15/05/2013 

Today, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is launching First World War: then and now, a £6million small grants programme to help communities mark the Centenary of the First World War. 

HLF is making at least £1million available per year for six years until 2019. It will provide grants between £3,000 and £10,000 enabling communities and groups right across the UK to explore, conserve and share their First World War heritage and deepen their understanding of the impact of the conflict.

Sebastian Faulks CBE, broadcaster, novelist, author of Birdsong and member of the Government’s First World War Centenary advisory group, said: "HLF’s First World War small grants programme is an opportunity for every street, town or village to make sure they remember the cataclysmic events of a hundred years ago. It is a chance to learn and to commemorate in whatever way they choose."

Welcoming the programme at the launch in the House of Commons today, Culture Secretary of State Maria Miller, said: "It is completely right that we mark the Centenary of the First World War with a national programme capturing our national spirit and saying something about who we are as a people. But what we do also needs to help create an enduring cultural and educational legacy for communities. The HLF grant programme announced today will play a big part in this, and builds on the substantial investment they have already made towards the Centenary."

Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of HLF, said: "The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund’s new programme will enable communities to explore the continuing legacy of this war and help young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world."

Successful projects will include:

  • researching, identifying and recording local heritage
  • creating a community archive or collection
  • developing new interpretation of heritage through exhibitions, trails, smartphone apps etc
  • researching, writing and performing creative material based on heritage sources

The new programme can also provide funding for the conservation of war memorials.

HLF has already invested £12million in projects – large and small – that will mark the Centenary of First World War. If a group have a project idea to mark the Centenary of the First World War, an online application pack is available from our First World War: then and now page. If a group needs a grant of more than £10,000 for a First World War project, it can apply to HLF through its open programmes.

Dan Rowbottom, Accrington Pals project, said: "The First World War had a devastating impact on the Accrington community; nearly everyone living in the area had a relative or friend who was killed or wounded when the battalion suffered extensive losses during the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Thanks to Lottery funding, our project enabled young people to explore and understand this tragic story which has shaped the town in which they live today."

HLF-funded First World War projects

The tragic story of the Accrington Pals regiment inspired young people to create a short film about the Lancashire battalion. The film recounts the attack on Serre in 1916 that claimed the lives of most of the battalion’s soldiers and the impact on their families.
(Award £11,200)

Volunteers in Huddersfield are researching the history of rugby league, in particular the impact the war had on their local club. They are learning about the life of star team player Douglas Clark and the recruitment efforts aimed at enlisting rugby players.
(Award £99,800)

Local people in the Wylye Valley are finding out how this rural community was transformed during the early months of the First World War when a six mile site of temporary army camps were set up to train soldiers to fight in France. The largest village in the valley then had a population of 50, and the influx of trainees totalled 24,000.
(Award £18,000)

The Diamond War Memorial project revealed that the men commemorated on the monument in the centre of Derry-Londonderry were from both Unionist and Nationalist backgrounds. This discovery challenged perceptions about identity, and the monument itself is now viewed as a shared landmark in the city.
(Award £49,800)

Black families in Liverpool have been researching their roots and uncovering fascinating stories of about how their ancestors were involved in the First World War. The project will produce a collection of oral histories and potentially a range of objects and archive material that will enhance the collection at the new Museum of Liverpool.
(Award £10,000)

Notes to editors

UK Government Centenary plans

In October 2012, the Prime Minister set out the Government’s plans to mark the centenaries of the First World War commencing in 2014. These plans include a £35m refurbishment of the First World War galleries at the Imperial War Museum (IWM); the Government’s principal partners in the commemorations will be the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the IWM, but will encompass support for a multitude of other initiatives, large and small, as they come together in the months and years to come.

Speaking at the Imperial War Museum in October, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "A truly national commemoration cannot just be about national initiatives and government action. It needs to be local too...Let’s get out there and make this centenary a truly national moment in every community in our land."

Visit our Understanding the First World War feature.

Read our Chair's blog on DCMS's website.

Images available on request.

Further information

Follow us on twitter @heritagelottery #understandingWW1.

Please contact Natasha Ley or Alison Scott, HLF Press Office, on 020 7591 6143 / 6032. Out of hours mobile: 07973 613 820.

Soldier and mother 
Soldier and mother. Copyright IWM

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