Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology kicks off with 28 community projects across Scotland

Young people making peat spade handles for the Talking Turf project
Young people making peat spade handles for the Talking Turf project Colin McLean Photography

Thousands of people will have the chance to get hands on with their local heritage as exciting new projects across Scotland open the doors to discovery and fun thanks to funding announced today from the National Lottery.

As a key partner to Scotland's Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, HLF has awarded over £250,000 investment in 28 projects across the country, from young people in the Highlands learning to build with turf to Dundonians collecting memories, histories, poems and songs from their city. Over half the applications were from people inspired to explore heritage for the first time.

Lucy Casot, Head of HLF in Scotland, said: “We are very excited about Stories, Stones and Bones and have been overwhelmed by the interest it’s had from people wanting to explore what’s important to them and their community. It’s been a real opportunity to open the door to those that don’t normally get involved in heritage, particularly young people, and let them see what it has to offer. I’m delighted that, thanks to players of the National Lottery, even more people will be involved in celebrating this special year in Scotland."

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland is a nation with rich history, heritage and impressive archaeology. 

“HLF’s engagement in the Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology, and its dedicated grants fund for the Year, is to be welcomed. The grants scheme has attracted many first-time applicants and community-based projects that value and wish to celebrate their own local heritage.”

Projects which received funding today include:

  • Deaf Action Stories and Stones – HLF grant of £9,700: The Conservation Volunteers will help bring history to life for young people with hearing impairment from Edinburgh and the Borders. Working with Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland, a number of abbeys, castles, gardens and wild landscapes, such as Linlithgow Palace, Arthur's Seat and Melrose Abbey, will be made accessible for the first time to young people who are deaf or have hearing impairment. They will include guided walks with British Sign Language interpretation and the opportunity to take part in hands-on conservation such as planting and making bird boxes
  • Talking Turf – HLF grant of £10,000: An outdoor classroom in the beautiful Glen Strathfarrar near Beauly will welcome 400 children from urban schools to learn about the Sheiling way of life in the Highlands. They will get stuck into the mud as they learn the traditional skills of cutting and building with turf, helping to construct a livestock pen for the Sheiling. They will also hear the stories and understand the placenames associated with this traditional way of life
  • Options for Life – HLF grant of £10,000: Exploring history is not always accessible for isolated adults with learning difficulties. This is about to change as Options for Life, based in Fife, will be holding weekly trips over the year to heritage attractions such as the Edinburgh Dungeon, Tentsmuir Forest and Bannockburn. The trips will give the adults an interactive experience making learning fun, extending their capabilities and firing their enthusiasm for history. Through information sharing, it will also help those working in the sector learn more about providing valuable, fun experiences for people with disabilities
  • Fae Me Tay You – HLF grant of £3,500: Personal and local stories, traditions, poems and folk songs as told by Dundonians aged over 60 will be recorded and celebrated. These memories will be turned into a fully illustrated book of poems and short stories for children aged 3–8 to enjoy. The stories will be shared during special interactive singing and storytelling performances for children, community groups and the general public. Dundee Heritage Trust, who are running the project, will also provide resources to encourage both schools and community centres to undertake their own oral history projects

Notes to editors

Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017

2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.

The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the Year of Food and Drink 2015, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 and the Year of Creative Scotland 2012.

The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative led by VisitScotland and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, the National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, HLF, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.

Find out more on the Visit Scotland website or join the conversation with the hashtag #HHA2017 on Twitter and Instagram.

Stories, Stones and Bones

Using funds raised through the National Lottery, HLF is supporting the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology with a dedicated programme to encourage communities across the country to explore and celebrate the history on their doorstep. Stories, Stones and Bones is a £500,000 fund with grants available for projects from £3,000-£10,000. The deadline for applications for the next round of funding is 31 January 2017.

Find out more on our Stories, Stones and Bones page.

Further information