SIXTY young people are to explore the impact of war over the centuries on the North East and its communities.
Newcastle-based Lookwide, the development arm of the Northumberland County Scout Council, has received £37,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support the Geordie at War project.
It will examine the military history of the North East and how conflicts have left their mark on the society and culture of the region.
Volunteers, mainly from Northumberland and Newcastle, will take part in the 18-month venture.
David McKenzie, chief executive Northumberland County Scouts – Lookwide UK, said that areas which the project will investigate will include how wars brought North East communities together.
He said: “This is an excellent opportunity to involve young people with limited experience of conflict in a project which turns history from a school subject to living reality through a close examination of how events affect real people in real situations.
“Heritage projects can really help people’s development.”
The volunteers will find out how make-do-and-mend and cooking skills eked out supplies and they will be put on wartime rations for a few days to experience how the restrictions felt. They will also have a residential stay which will replicate wartime conditions.
Another aspect for investigation will be how wars and returning soldiers introduced new words into the language.
Recording the wartime memories of older people is also aimed at bridging the gap between generations.
There will be visits to UK battlefields, including Northumberland locations such as Flodden Field, and to Hadrian’s Wall to inspect the evidence of centuries of Roman army occupation. The project will work with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.
It will result in an education pack for schools, a DVD by the participants of their experiences working on the project, a local heritage trail, website and an exhibition.
Head of the HLF in the North East, Ivor Crowther, said: “This project will explore and celebrate the part that the North East played in the First and Second World Wars as well as the historic battles of our ancestors.
“We know that heritage can provide opportunities for people across the community to mix and learn from one another, giving young people a very real sense of who they are and where they come from.
“This project could offer an amazing range of diverse training opportunities and will encourage people to learn about the significant record of military heritage, including the effects it has on our lives today.”
Lookwide has already run projects in which young people explored the lead mining history of Nenthead in Cumbria, worked on a nature trail from the South Tynedale railway at Alston, and investigated the coal mining and fishing past of Blyth in Northumberland.