Wednesday 12 December 2012

Cultural diversity

As part of this project, we are aiming to contact many of the diverse cultural communities in Sopwell in order to interview them to hear some of their stories. For some strange reason, Sopwell has attracted rather a large proportion of non-white British communities - far more than the national average - and with a larger than the national average of local authority housing, has been labelled "a deprived area". You would think that this would attract attention to the project in the local newspapers but still no mention of our good news! What does one have to do to get publicity in St Albans? Any advice would be appreciated.

We have many people from Bangladesh who I am anxious to interview. I have been told that a large concentration of them in our area only have a spoken language, so our aim of sending out leaflets in various languages would be rather pointless. One idea we have had is to go into the local primary schools -Mandeville, St Adrian's and St Peter's - and encourage the children to explain about the project and maybe interview their parents or grandparents. I have already made contact with Mandeville who are very keen to participate. I am sure the children will love using all the equipment. We will start planning this in the New Year.

In the meantime if anyone wishes to contribute to the blog, suggest contacts or even has a story to tell which relates to the project, please do get in touch.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

First steps

On 28th October 2012, we, that is the Sopwell Residents Association (SRA) of St Albans, heard that we had been awarded an "All Our Stories" grant for £10,000.00 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

"All Our Stories" is a brand new small grant programme, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story. It has been designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With HLF funding and support, community groups such as the SRA will be able to carry out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.

The grant for our More Memories of Sopwell project will be used to continue to expand the Sopwell Project – researching the history, collecting reported facts and stories relating to the Sopwell area – by involving more residents, including schoolchildren and the more recent migrants to the area.

The plan is to hold several workshops to identify potential interviewees and later to share the information collected, via a dedicated interactive website and a series of leaflets describing history walks around the area. The website will complement the existing publication Sopwell: a history and collection of memories in providing a wonderful resource to help everyone to learn about, and celebrate the heritage on their doorstep.

The project is not due to start until May 2013 and will end on 30 April 2014 but, as we have been given the go ahead, we can already start to organise ourselves.

The press release has gone out to two local newspapers: the Herts Advertiser and St Albans Review, but to date nothing has appeared. This is quite normal in St Albans! I have made contact with the University of Hertfordshire (UH) who are very willing to help us carry out this exciting project. And I have purchased a domain name:

Now I am trying to get a team together to be the steering group.