Newham Heritage Month is an annual heritage festival that celebrates the borough’s local heritage, led by the community for the community. In 2021, it was delivered as a digital festival due to coronavirus (COVID-19). It is returning in 2022 from 1-30 June with free in-person events and activities for everyone.
Newham Heritage Month 2021 was a collaborative project with Newham Heritage Month Steering Group, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and other partners. The Steering Group was formed of community groups, Council officers and Councillors, schools, community stakeholders and representation from Newham’s Black and LGBTQ+ Month Steering Groups. Key members of this group had lived in the Newham borough for many years and knew the community well.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund supported Newham Heritage Month with a grant of £180,000. From this, a community grant scheme was set up to offer fifteen smaller grants for heritage activities across the borough. These were governed by Newham Heritage Month Steering Group. Each project was delivered over one single festival in May 2021 on the theme of Shops, Docks and Factories.
Newham Heritage Month 2021 was delivered as a live and digital festival of heritage due to COVID-19. It celebrated the diversity of Newham’s community and was promoted widely with an inclusive theme.
The activities celebrated the heroes of industry, innovation and creativity at every level. From honouring corner shops and family-run curry houses to paying tribute to the titanic factories and docks, these have all formed Newham’s landscape over the years.
In total 72 organisations, artists and community groups came together and over £75,000 was distributed through the community grant fund. Other highlights include:
- 41 oral histories were collected and 55 heritage records created
- 131 volunteers clocked up 1046 hours of work while learning new skills, meeting new friends, and telling their own stories
- 12 films, podcasts and printed and/or downloadable booklets and trails sharing new research
- 55 new records based on original research were added to the website including oral histories, booklets, trails, films and podcasts
- 27,000 people attended the events (online and virtually)
This festival will go from strength to strength as we look ahead to next year’s theme of what the 10th Olympic and Paralympic anniversary means to our borough, our communities, and our people here in Newham.
Councillor Charlene McLean, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Resident Engagement & Participation
The future looks bright with Newham Heritage Month returning in 2022. This year’s theme, 'What London 2012 means to us', will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will look at what it meant to be in Newham during this momentous sporting event – an event that not only shaped the landscape and buildings of the borough but the community as well.
Councillor Charlene McLean, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Resident Engagement & Participation, says about the future of the project: "I am once again delighted and proud of how Newham Heritage Month 2021 has continued the vital work of building our understanding of our borough by exploring our shared history. This festival will go from strength to strength as we look ahead to next year’s theme of what the 10th Olympic and Paralympic anniversary means to our borough, our communities, and our people here in Newham."
- Being agile and moving to a digital event meant Newham Heritage Month could reach the community even though live events were uncertain due to COVID-19.
- Having the community at the heart of the Steering Group was integral to the successful outcome.
- Making sure the key project roles were familiar with the borough and known to everyone helped with working within the community.