£400k boost for centenary

COUNCIL bosses are celebrating after securing £400,000 of funding towards projects relating to the centenary of the First World War.

A Hartlepool Borough Council-led bid to the Renaissance Strategic Fund at Arts Council England has been successful in securing £394,775 towards projects next year to mark the anniversary, including the bombardment of Hartlepool.

Five boroughs of the Tees Valley – Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton – are teaming up with the Heugh Gun Battery on the Headland, which is the site of the only First World War battlefield in the North-East, to commemorate one hundred years since the start of the conflict.

The two-year project includes exhibitions, drama performances, digital and hologram projects, outreach and education events across the Tees Valley and schools will be be encouraged to visit the Heugh Gun Battery.

The project will also include the First World War collections held by museums across the region.

Alison Clark-Jenkins, regional director of Arts Council England, said: “This project aims to bring the story of the war to life, to root an understanding of it in local events and artefacts, and to reveal the profound social impact it had on every section of society.

“The partnership across the Tees Valley demonstrates the commitment of museums to work collaboratively and explore new models of operating in this challenging financial climate. Our investment will see communities being put at the forefront giving more opportunities for people to engage with the fabulous collections in the North-East.”

David Worthington, head of culture and information for Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We aim to commemorate this momentous period in both the countries and Hartlepools history.

“It was a period of a ‘lost’ generation when millions died and signalled a change to the country’s social structure.

“In Hartlepool we saw the bombardment of the Hartlepools on the December 16, 1914; an event that cost many lives and caused damage to property that can still be seen to this day.

“This is a great opportunity to bring World War I to generations who have no direct connection with the conflict.

“We are very grateful to the Arts Council for their funding and look forward to working with our partner organisations in delivering what promises to be a really exciting and interesting project.”

The council’s culture and information service will be working with partner organisations across the Tees Valley to deliver the project between 2013 and 2015.