The Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs conservation and heritage charity is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) All Our Stories grant, it was announced today.
The Friends have been awarded a maximum grant of £10,000 for this exciting project which aims to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Scotland's first National Park through capturing and telling the stories of people past and present. The Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park covers 720 square miles, is home to 16,000 people and welcomes 4 million visitors annually.
All Our Stories, a brand new small grant programme, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two's The Great British Story - has been designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With HLF funding and support, community groups will carry out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.
The popular series presented by historian Michael Wood and supported by a programme of BBC learning activities and events got thousands of us asking questions about our history and inspired us to look at our history in a different way through the eyes of ordinary people.
The programme and HLF All Our Stories has proved a real hit and now Celebrating Park People and Stories, is one of hundreds of successful projects around the UK to receive a grant. The Friends plan to work with the Park wide Community Partnership and local communities to host a Celebrating Park People conference and workshops; produce a series of video and audio podcasts featuring interviews with local characters telling their stories and what is so special for them living in the National Park; organise an events programme including site visits, talks and musical performances celebrating the wonders of the National Park and the talents of National Park people;and to produce a new section on the Friends website to promote the stories of Park people more widely.
TV presenter and historian Michael Wood, said: "We British love our history, and no wonder: few nations in the world, if any, have such riches on their doorstep, and so much of it accessible to all of us. It is really tremendous that the people of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park have been inspired to get involved to tell their own story and to dig deeper into their own past. It's brilliant that so many people are being given the chance to get involved through All Our Stories grants. Having travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles this last year filming The Great British Story, I am certain that fascinating and moving stories will be uncovered which will not only bring to life the excitement of local history, but will illuminate and enrich every community's connection with the national narrative.''
Commenting on the award, James Fraser, Chairman of the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs said: '' I am delighted we have been awarded this grant as it will enable us to engage more with local people to capture and tell their stories and raise the overall awareness and appreciation of the rich cultural heritage of the National Park. This is in line with our plans to place more emphasis on celebrating the diverse cultural heritage of the Park which in the past has tended not to receive as much attention as the Park's scenic splendours despite the people of the Park being such a key asset and of great interest to visitors who are seeking more authentic experiences.''
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, said: ''Clearly the success of All Our Stories has reinforced the fact that we are indeed a nation of storytellers and that we want to explore and dig deeper into our past and discover more about what really matters to us. This is exactly what the grant will do for the Friends Celebrating Park People and Stories project as they embark on a real journey of discovery.''