Funding boost for story scheme

Derwent Valley Mills Heritage Site Educational Trust is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) All Our Stories grant.

This exciting project, called Volunteer Heritage Guides in the Digital Age, will be based in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site (DVMWHS) and led by the Derwent Valley Mills Educational Trust.

It has been awarded £7,300 to bring together the many volunteers within the 15-mile length of the DVMWHS to work together and improve their knowledge of the whole site and create a new digital application for visitors.

All Our Stories, a brand new small grant programme, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story – has been designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage.

With HLF funding and support, community groups will carry out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.

The popular series, presented by historian Michael Wood and supported by a programme of BBC Learning activities and events got thousands of us asking questions about our history and inspired us to look at our history in a different way through the eyes of ordinary people.

The programme and HLF All Our Stories has proved a real hit and now Volunteer Heritage Guides in the Digital Age, is one of hundreds of successful projects around the UK to receive a grant. Derwent Valley Mills Heritage Site Educational Trust will bring the volunteers of the DVMWHS together to visit similar industrial heritage sites in the Midlands to see how they interpret their story, particularly through digital technology.

The volunteers will be trained in how to access digital platforms so they can upload archive collections not currently available online. The volunteers will then work towards creating a new DVMWHS digital application which they can promote to site visitors.

Commenting on the award, DVMWHS director Mark Suggitt said: “This funding is a great opportunity to bring volunteers together, to learn about our history and engage with new technology to create new resources for visitors to the Derwent Valley.”

Emma Sayer, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “Clearly the success of All Our Stories has reinforced the fact that we are indeed a nation of story tellers and that we want to explore and dig deeper into our past and discover more about what really matters to us. This is exactly what the grant will do for Volunteer Heritage Guides in the Digital Age as they embark on a real journey of discovery”.