Two projects receiving funding today through HLF’s First World War: Then and Now Programme brings total investment in projects in the North East exploring the conflict to over £1million.


Made possible by National Lottery players, the investment has seen communities across the region uncover new perspectives, tell untold stories and create innovative ways for people to engage with their area’s First World War heritage. 

Funding is still available through the programme and applications are welcome from not-for-profit groups, including those who would like to reapply following a successful HLF supported project.   

Grants being awarded today 

·         St Joseph’s Junior School in Birtley has been awarded £10,000 for a project called Birtley: The Belgian Connection. More than 6,000 Belgian refugees lived in Elizabethville, a self-contained village which grew around the munitions factory in which they worked and even had its own hospital and Belgian police force. Year 5 pupils will delve into archives and work with the Birtley History Group to explore their lives and the events which led to them arriving in the area during the First World War. 

·         Wheatley Hill History Club has been awarded £10,000 for their project Beyond Praise: Thomas Kenny VC. Private Thomas Kenny was awarded a Victoria Cross for his bravery in rescuing Lieutenant Phillip Brown in no man’s land in 1915. Since installing a commemorative plaque last year the group is set to share the men’s story with a wider range of people through the creation of a film. The project will explore their different backgrounds (Kenny was a Durham pitman while Brown was an Oxford Graduate) and look at what happened to Kenny when he returned home and the impact it had on his community.

Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, said: “Communities across the North East have put an incredible amount of hard work and dedication into exploring new perspectives, revealing untold local stories and creating a meaningful legacy of the region’s heritage of the First World War.

“Our £1m investment has all been made possible by National Lottery players and we are keen to support even more projects, so if you have an idea please do get in touch.”