Borderland Voices secures National Lottery Heritage Fund support
Borderland Voices is delighted to announce a successful grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their two-year project ‘In search of the Women’s Land Army around Leek, Staffordshire Moorlands’.
Land Girls (members of the wartime Women’s Land Army) and Lumber Jills (who worked in a sister organisation for the Forestry Commission) were crucial in producing vital food and timber during both World Wars. Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will research connections between former Land Army girls, local farm owners and the community and present them in creative ways including writing, art, photography and a ‘40s Open Day’.
Said Borderland Voices Coordinator, Andy Collins, ‘We were due to launch with public open days, in Leek and the surrounding villages, to spread the word and encourage people to come forward with stories, reminiscences, anecdotes and even memorabilia. Obviously the Covid-19 situation means that some plans are on hold, but we’re still really keen to hear from older people who may remember seeing Land Girls, or from anyone with a family connection to a Land Girl or Lumber Jill. At the moment we’re relying on Zoom conferences and phone calls to get things going.’
Eventually, the project will involve a range of volunteering, educational and community benefits of general interest, such as learning research techniques, writing skills for exhibitions, developing IT/website/podcast skills, giving talks to raise awareness, leading guided walks or conducting oral history interviews. It will also work in local schools to help students understand the important contribution made by the Women’s Land Army during WW1 and WW2.
It will publish research as a booklet, release podcasts and produce an informative and creative exhibition to share around local communities in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Commenting on the award, Andy said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players. The two year funding programme will allow Borderland Voices to research, document and present this intriguing piece of local history. It will tell the stories behind women who, by working in the rural economy, helped the country survive two World Wars. It has already attracted interest from Leek High School and the Foxlowe Arts Centre, who will be joining in with our research and project exhibitions.
We are also grateful that Councillor Charlotte Atkins (through the ‘People helping People’ fund) and Leek Arts Forum are providing some match funding
Photo credit – Richard Godley