A project which will help to capture an oral history of Lincolnshire’s travelling community is beginning work after it was awarded more than £48,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Lincolnshire Travelling Heritage Project aims to give young members of the travelling community the chance to capture the memories and stories of their elders which they will then share with other young people in schools around the county.
It is hoped the project’s work will help to break down some of the myths and misunderstandings about the Traveller community.
Up to 10 young people aged 12-24 from the Travelling community have already begun to learn the skills they will need to make the recordings.
The project will be managed by the Lincolnshire Traveller Initiative, which works with Travellers across Lincolnshire providing education and learning opportunities, in partnership with Lincoln-based arts consultancy cultural solutions UK.
“We are all really excited about the potential of the project as it offers Lincolnshire Travellers and Gypsies a way to ensure their voice is heard by mainstream society and to conserve their memories and dialect for generations to come,” said David Lambert of cultural solutions UK.
“It is a wonderful opportunity to equip the young people with the skills they will need to gather the incredible stories from their elders, who include grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles who live in Lincolnshire and those who have moved away.”
As well as preserving the stories the project also includes an education programme, where travellers from the local community go into local schools to share their stories and give other young people an insight into their lives and the challenges they face.
The team has already had several sessions with young Travellers at sites around the county, including Grantham, Gainsborough, Sleaford and Boston. The young people have produced poetry, creative writing and some audio and more sessions are planned.
David added: “By spring 2013 up to 10 young Travellers will have gained a whole new set of skills that will help them in their future pursuit of a career.
“In addition, a suite of resources including films, photographs, two touring exhibitions, an interactive website, an audio CD and an education resource pack for Lincolnshire’s schools will be available.
“We also hope that more people get the chance to meet and learn more about one of the UK’s most misunderstood cultures.
“Securing this funding will enable us to do something positive to help young people in the Gypsy and Traveller community.”