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East Lancs Childhoods: Sharing Stories, Making Memories is an inter-generational community arts project which brings together old and young residents of East Lancashire to commemorate the events of WWII. The project is being led by staff and students from the University Centre at Blackburn College and is supported by Heritage Lottery Fund. Our partners are Blackburn Children’s University and EACHSTEP care home, Blackburn Museum and Art Centre and Blackburn Library.

Participants are engaging in an extensive programme of creative activities and events focused on childhood and the Home Front. The interaction between children, students and older adults aims to develop a deeper awareness and understanding of experiences, perceptions and misconceptions about different generations through listening to and responding to war time memories. The project aims to promote community wellbeing, inclusion and integration, and a collective sense of belonging through shared engagement in conversations and stories about childhood.

Blog

Lest We Forget . . . Family History, Memorabilia and World War Two – Part 4

Dr Stephen Tate – September, 2020 Welcome to the latest instalment of the blog, Lest We Forget. As part of the WWII East Lancashire Childhoods project the blog has been attempting to examine how family memorabilia combined with shared recollections can help foster a better understanding of the generation associated with World War Two. If …

A Wartime Childhood: An Interview with Olive Laurie (née Bailey)

Olive Laurie was a young child during the Second World War and here she shares her memories and stories on life with her older sister and parents in the family home, being evacuated, getting her teeth knocked out, watching barrage balloons and removing a ‘sizzling incendiary bomb in an eiderdown’ from her Auntie’s bedroom. We hope …

A Wartime Childhood in Blackburn: An Interview with Barbara Riding (nee Brett)

4th August, 2020 Barbara Riding grew up in Blackburn during the Second World War and here she shares her memories and stories of being a child during World War Two. Barbara talks about what life was like in the family home, at school and playing in the local area. We hope you enjoy listening to …

Events

A WARTIME CHILDHOOD
02nd November 2019
A one day event hosted by University Centre at Blackburn College, in collaboration with The Children’s University.  This event provides the opportunity for children in the local community to engage in activities that explore childhood experiences during the Second World War. Video available here.

SHARING STORIES
16th January 2020
Interview with Richard Croasdale.

12th February 2020
Memorabilia afternoon with EachStep care home residents.

12th February 2020
Interviews with Joan, Joan and Anne.

26th February 2020
Craft activities, making bunting and chatting with children from Blackburn Children’s University (from St Aiden’s Primary School) and staff and students from UCBC alongside care home residents.

04th March 2020
Poppy making activities with children from Blackburn Children’s University (from Sacred Heart RC Primary School) and staff and students from UCBC alongside care home residents.

LEST WE FORGET
02nd March 2020

Official launch of Dr. Stephen Tate’s Lest We Forget blog series.

VE DAY STAY AT HOME PARTY
08th May 2020

Representatives from all generations of the local community will be invited to a one-day virtual event to commemorate the end of WWII.  Please note that this event is by invitation only.

POETRY SLAM
TBC 2020
Postponed. More information soon.

Due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak, and with a view to participant safety, all planned events and activities have been postponed until later in the year.

About

WWII East Lancashire Childhoods: Sharing Stories, Making Memories is an inter-generational community arts project which brings together old and young residents of East Lancashire. The project creates opportunities for interaction between children and care home residents where participants focus on childhood experiences during wartime and stories of the Home Front from the perspective of those who were children during WWII.  Our aim is to preserve the rich cultural histories from this period and to bring those experiences to life for people to hear stories and ask questions first hand. 

The impetus for the project came from the fact that 2020 sees the 75th anniversary of VE day. By asking older residents to share their experiences we hope that children and younger people will develop a deeper awareness and understanding of what war was like for the children who lived through it. Research suggests that interaction between old and young can help to improve intergenerational connections and help older people to have ‘increased dignity and respect, increased compassion, increased mental stimulation, and reduced social isolation” (Pennington et al, 2018).

Intergenerational interaction is also a means of improving self-worth and cognitive health in older people, whereas younger people develop improved attitudes and reduced negative perceptions of older adults (Drury, Abrams and Swift, 2017).

The project captures and preserves the voices of our participants as a legacy for future generations before that generation of people is lost forever.  The importance and impact of WWII is unquestionable for those directly affected by it but for post-war generations, there can be a lack of understanding or awareness of how this event changed and shaped people’s lives (in positive and negative ways).  This is true even within families where wartime children who are now adults have not discussed WWII with their families; many would have had parents who fought in the war (or were part of the home front) but did not discuss what happened.  There is now a diminishing population who can contribute to capturing these wartime childhood stories, putting this rich heritage at risk.  The impact of such stories cannot be under-estimated in terms of impact on current generations. 

We hope that you will enjoy reading these stories as much as we have enjoyed listening to them and sharing them with you.

Sandra and Val
Project Leads

Contact:
smallstories@blackburn.ac.uk