The past will come to life for communities on the doorstep of a new state-of-the-art historical resource centre – after it won lottery funding for a local history project.
The Keep, a £19 million development by East Sussex County Council, Brighton & Hove City Council and the University of Sussex, will open its doors at Woollards Field, in Moulsecoomb, later in 2013.
East Sussex Record Office (ESRO), the county council-run archive for East Sussex and Brighton & Hove which is moving to The Keep, has been granted £43,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an 18-month project entitled ‘History On Your Doorstep’.
Volunteers of all ages from Moulsecoomb and nearby neighbourhoods will be recruited to collect, record and celebrate the area’s rich history.
Isilda Almeida-Harvey, ESRO outreach and learning officer, said she hoped the scheme would highlight the accessibility of The Keep to all sectors of the community and help to foster a sense of pride in the area.
She said: “This funding is very important to help us change how local residents may perceive archives. We want collections at The Keep to be representative of local communities and to be used and enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities
“The idea behind the project is to get the local community involved with The Keep and its collections, to empower people to develop the skills they need to use the resource and really benefit from it.
“One of the aims is to foster pride of place in local children and young people, as well as an understanding of the heritage in the buildings and streets they walk past every day.
“The activities will also involve older generations of residents who, through their stories, memories and photographs, will help us to uncover and celebrate the rich history of Moulsecoomb and the surrounding area.”
The programme has been developed by ESRO, the University of Sussex Special Collections and Royal Pavilion and Museums, in consultation with local community groups and residents from the initial idea to the final grant application.
It will offer an opportunity for people to be trained in reminiscence activities, oral history interviewing, archive research, object handling, map reading and other skills they will be able to use at The Keep.
A series of project information sessions will be held across Moulsecoomb and the surrounding neighbourhoods. Anyone interested in taking part is asked to email Isilda.Almeida-Harvey@eastsussex.gov.uk or call 01273 336315.