As the nation marks the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, which lasted for 141 days from July to November 1916, Alex Cunningham has urged organisations across the Stockton borough to apply for financial assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to explore the stories of the First World War.
Following the success of its community grants programme, First World War: Then and Now, the Fund has made an additional £4 million available for communities looking to explore, conserve and share local heritage of the First World War, with grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 being available.
Stockton North’s MP has called on community groups to get involved after the Royal British Legion’s Billingham Branch successfully bid for assistance with a five month project to allow local school children to find out more about the seven men listed on Billingham cenotaph as having died on the Somme.
National Lottery funding has already enabled thousands of young people and communities to get involved in activities marking the Centenary, including researching and recording local heritage, conserving war memorials, and using digital technology to share their discoveries. This new money will help even more people get involved and explore the many poignant stories, including those surrounding the Somme.
“These projects and stories have been an inspiration. It’s so important that we remember the impact of this war one hundred years on. There is still time to apply for National Lottery money and I would urge any group in Stockton with an idea for their own project to get in touch with the Fund.”
Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the HLF, said: “The demand for National Lottery funding for First World War projects has been phenomenal – so much so we’ve decided to make extra money available. This will mean everyone, in particular more young people, can explore the momentous events of a war that shaped our nation, Europe and the world. This year marks the Centenary of the Battle of Somme and if groups want support for projects examining its impact do think about applying now.”