MP CELEBRATES WWI FUND FOR HERITAGE OPEN DAYS

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has congratulated the organisers of Gosport Heritage Open Days on securing a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £10,000. The money is to increase public awareness of Gosport's contribution to the war effort through HLF's First World War: Then and Now programme.

To mark the Centenary of the First World War, the project will enable local people in Gosport to come together to preserve the memories and heritage of the people who lived through the First World War. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £81 million in projects that are marking this Centenary and helping local young people in particular to broaden their understanding of how the conflict has shaped our modern world.

Four local groups will be created with a wide range of ages and abilities. Volunteers will collect photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos of keepsakes, as well as family tales passed down to help them build a clear picture of what life was really like. The project will centre on a series of workshops being conducted with the four groups and will include talks by visiting historians.

There will also be visits to at least four historic sites which, subject to confirmation, will include HMS Sultan Airfield Museum, Royal Clarence Yard, World War One Remembrance Centre or Portsmouth Naval Dockyard Archives. A commemorative Great War newspaper will also be produced with a final exhibition in Gosport's Discovery Centre.

With help from professionals, the information gathered will be digitally recorded and an online interactive archive will be created where everyone can access and contribute information. The archive will allow the public to discuss, contribute, share and research information about the Home Front.

Commenting on the grant, Caroline said:

"I am pleased that in Gosport we have so much support for the preservation of our local history, helping the younger generations understand why this centenary is so important.

I hope that many of my constituents get involved to celebrate our heritage and increase awareness of the war effort that came from Gosport."

You can read more about Gosport Heritage Open Days at www.gosportheritage.co.uk, and more about the HLF at www.hlf.org.uk.