A step closer to uncovering Wales’s ‘unloved heritage’

Thursday 03 July 2014

Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, is one step closer to launching a youth-focused project that aims to uncover the country’s ‘unloved heritage’, thanks to a major boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), it was announced today (3 July 2014).

Swyddfa’r Sir, Aberystwyth (© Crown Copyright: RCAHMW)

Swyddfa’r Sir is a redundant public building on Aberystwyth sea front. (© Crown Copyright: RCAHMW)

HLF has awarded Cadw a first-round pass and a development grant of more than £70,000 to progress plans to develop a project focusing on the more recent history of the 19th and 20th century, working with up to 150 young people from across Wales.

The project, entitled ‘Unloved Heritage’, will see the young people, aged between 18 and 25, investigate different themes of Wales’s unique past while developing specialist skills in archaeology.

A Project Manager will also be appointed to work with partner organisations, and drive the plans forward.

John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sport, said: “Unloved Heritage will explore the often neglected archaeology and heritage of our recent past, while helping young people from across Wales to develop new skills and gain more confidence.

“Through creating a series of regional youth panels, the young people will gain a greater understanding of their area’s heritage and learn how this impacts on their community today.

“The proposed themes and locations deliberately avoid the ‘usual suspects’ that we often associate with heritage and instead focus on the unexpected heritage, often located in urban environments, which contribute to our sense of place.”

The plans for Unloved Heritage include the creation of six youth panels, which will each focus on a unique heritage theme within their community, overseen by local mentors from partner community and heritage organisations.

As well as helping young people to become more involved in their local community, the project will enable them to learn archaeological techniques, while also gaining important life skills such as teamwork and community outreach.

The youth panels will explore themes ranging from the relationship between Newport’s historic core and its more recent industrial development to the maritime community of Holyhead.

In Llanelli, the young people will be invited to investigate the effect of out-of-town developments on the historic town, while in Clwyd-Powys, the project will focus on the impact of the internal combustion engine upon people’s lives in a predominantly rural landscape.

Redundant public buildings, derelict and hidden spaces will be the subject of a project in Ceredigion and in Glamorgan, a team will look at how people ‘perceive and move around’ the urban spaces of Swansea and Bridgend and how these ‘trackways’ and ‘tramlines’ have changed over time.

Jennifer Stewart, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales said: "This project has the potential to provide a unique opportunity for young people from all around Wales to learn more about their heritage and develop a wide range of new skills.  

"We were impressed with the range of partners that have committed to being involved and the real difference that this project could make for heritage and for people.  

"HLF has awarded a grant to develop the initial plans for the project and we look forward to hearing how the project develops over the coming months."

Cadw has worked with partners across the heritage sector in developing the bid. These include the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. The Council for British Archaeology and the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action are also involved.