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Heritage Lottery Fund supports First World War centenary project

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Published: 21/07/2014

South Gloucestershire has received £60,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the ‘South Gloucestershire and the First World War’ project.

The First World War Centenary project will involve local community heritage organisations working with South Gloucestershire Council to improve public engagement with the anniversary. We will be coordinating a range of activities which will help communities to access and interpret the First World War heritage held by local organisations.

To mark the declaration of war in 1914, the project has created an exhibition which shows the impact of the war in this area and how communities were changed in other countries with which South Gloucestershire is now twinned. The exhibition will tour public venues in South Gloucestershire to engage directly with local communities.

As part of the project an engagement officer from the council will work with community heritage groups and both formal and informal learning groups providing guidance and training for volunteers. In addition, South Gloucestershire twinning associations will liaise with their counterparts in other countries to obtain material to contribute to exhibitions delivered by community organisations.

The opening speeches will be followed by poetry readings which include recitals of ‘Aftermath’ by Siegfried Sassoon and the ‘Hawkesbury Hospital’ by Sergeant E Rex. These will be followed by a performance of songs from the period by local singer Rachael Hunt.

Chairman of South Gloucestershire Council Cllr Howard Gawler said: “We are grateful for the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to fund the development of this essential project which will provide a central base for the many centenary projects which are happening throughout South Gloucestershire. By working with the many heritage organisations in the area, this project will ensure that the centenary is commemorated locally and show the effect of the First World War on individuals and communities in South Gloucestershire.”

Nerys Watts, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, 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 has already invested more than £57million in projects – large and small – that are marking this global Centenary; with our small grants programme, we are enabling even more communities like those involved in ‘South Gloucestershire and the First World War’ explore the continuing legacy of this conflict and help local people broaden their understanding of how it has shaped our modern world.”

Tesco’s Regional Corporate Affairs Manager Jack Pearson said: “We’re delighted to be hosting the exhibition and to be supporting the centenary project. We know how important it is and hope that customers will find it interesting and insightful. We hope that by hosting the exhibition as many people as possible will be able to see it.”

The exhibition will remain at the Tesco supermarket in Yate for four weeks before moving on to the Tesco store in Bradley Stoke for a further four weeks.

The project also aims to raise the profile of local war memorials to improve their preservation.

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