Youths to explore past for project

Councillor Val Slater

Councillor Val Slater

First published in News

A local history project focusing on two important communities in Bradford and Keighley is looking for people to get involved.

West Yorkshire Joint Services, in partnership with Bradford Council, is about to start its My Place initiative, focusing on the local heritage of two neighbourhoods in the district, as well as the people, places and memories that make up the richness of those communities.

It has been supported by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to enable the project to use two local ‘hubs’ – Bolling Hall, Bradford, and Cliffe Castle, Keighley.

Young people from more than 20 neighbouring schools will explore the history of their localities and communities through the study and use of historical and archival sources, historic buildings and landscapes, hands-on archaeological excavations and historical interpretation drama workshops.

As part of a two-year programme, with schools and community activities running until July 2014, there will be a range of workshops, archaeological excavations, celebration events and exhibitions promoting the work. The sessions will be focusing on the non-physical heritage of memories, identity, examining changes and developments in the community, as well as the physical heritage of historic buildings, archaeology sites, museums collections and archives where they will be asking for community involvement and participation.

Community organisations have already offered themselves as volunteers, with the opportunity of learning new skills including researching and interpreting community heritage, oral history reminiscence interviews and recording and archaeological excavation and recording techniques, as well as event and project management.

However, the My Place project is also looking for local residents to get involved. They could be part of the team of volunteers sharing their experience about growing up or working in the local community, digging with the young people at one of the summer’s excavations or learning how to curate, preserve and archive finds, documents and local history.

Graham Hebblethwaite, chief officer of West Yorkshire Joint Services, said: “This project provides an excellent opportunity not only to engage the young residents of Bradford and Keighley with their past, but also to encourage them to consider how they can ensure our shared heritage is preserved for the future.”

Bradford councillor Val Slater, chairman of the archives, archaeology and trading standards committee, said: “This project is a wonderful initiative to encourage the young people and local residents to engage with their heritage and communities.

“The more we understand about our local history, the more we can learn to appreciate it and ensure it is there for future generations to discover and enjoy. If you’re interested in local history, have memories you’d love to share with young people, want to learn new skills and experience activities such as real life archaeology excavations, then we need you.”

For more information about community volunteering and community opportunities, e-mail Hayley Briggs at hbriggs1@wyjs.org.uk or Rachel Tapp at rtapp@wyjs.org.uk.

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