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Funding for communities to archive history

08 October 2019

Norfolk County Council’s Record Office (NRO) has been awarded a grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund of up to £217,400 to support a new three-year project entitled, Community Archives: Skills, Support and Sustainability. As the name suggests, the project will provide communities with the skills and support they need to create sustainable community archives.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the grant will be used to recruit two community archivists to work across Norfolk. They will work with community groups across the county to train people in archive skills, such as cataloguing their collections, digitisation and recording oral history interviews. This will mean people now and in the future can locate and consult historically important resources.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships said: “Local community groups are in an excellent position to identify archives relating to their local area or special interest. Without this, our community memories will fade and parts of Norfolk’s heritage will be lost. It’s fantastic that we have gained this funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund which will enable the Norfolk Record Office to work with communities to secure and make available to everyone these important resources. As well as providing a fascinating window into Norfolk’s past, archives are a wonderful aid to community cohesion and integration.”

This exciting new project will create and deliver training to 30 partners across the county who look after over five million unique photographs, sound recordings and other records, which date from the fifteenth century onwards. 

As well as providing training, which will be published online for everyone to access, the project will acquire equipment for use by the partners. This will include acid free, archive quality packaging materials, digital sound recording equipment and digital photography kit.

Anne Jenkins, Director, England: Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Communities are heart and centre of keeping our heritage alive, and we’re delighted that we can support this project to ensure the cultural memories of Norfolk are preserved and shared throughout the county. At The National Lottery Heritage Fund, we’ve identified community engagement as a priority for the next five years, and this project is a fantastic example of how our funding is empowering people to explore their local heritage and safeguard the important history that surrounds them.”

Councillor Michael Chenery of Horsbrugh, Chairman of Norfolk Records Committee said: “This project is a great opportunity for the Norfolk Record Office to share their expertise in the collection, storage and sharing of historical archives. It will ensure a wider range of historical resources are preserved and made publicly accessible now and for future generations.

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