£5 Million WWII Education Scheme Launched Today

By Corinne Field | 12 January 2004
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Shows a second world war veteran, dressed in his red coat uniform, talking to two girls and a woman at the Imperial War Museum.

Photo: Veterans will recount their experiences of the war to young people. Photo by David Devins © NewsCast

The New Opportunities Fund today announced the launch of a new education scheme about the experience of veterans during world war two.

The Imperial War Museum, who are developing the scheme called Their Past – Your Future, has been awarded a £200,000 development grant by the Fund. It's the first instalment of what is expected to be a massive £5 million project.

One of the unique aspects of the scheme is that young people will have the opportunity to learn first-hand from veterans about their experiences of the second world war.

Minister for Veterans Ivor Caplin MP said, "I am delighted that the National Lottery’s New Opportunities Fund has chosen to make this very generous award. This project will encourage the development of valuable relationships between schools, museums and veteran groups."

Shows a photograph of two World War Two veterans, wearing berets with military badges and rows of medals, talking to a young boy. One of the veterans is leaning on a tank.

Photo: The scheme is about encouraging inter-generational learning. Photo by David Devins © NewsCast

The New Opportunities Fund and Imperial War Museum are working closely with the Department for Education and Skills, the Ministry of Defence, Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries, veterans’ organisations and other partners so that the project builds inter-generational learning relationships in schools and communities across the UK.

2004 marks the 60th anniversary of D-Day. As well as enabling young people to speak to veterans, Their Past – Your Future includes a website called D-Day and Beyond, exhibitions, publications and a competition for schools.

Museums across the UK will be putting on special exhibitions and projects, which will include photographs and first-hand accounts by veterans.

The competition will give winning groups of teachers and young people the opportunity to participate with veterans in special events in Normandy, onboard HMS Belfast and in Portsmouth.

Shows a war veteran, dressed in his military uniform - a red trenchcoat, talking to a girl in school uniform. He is sat on the edge of a tank at the Imperial War Museum.

Photo: Museums across the UK will put on special exhibitions to commemorate 60 years since D-Day. Photo by David Devins © NewsCast

D-Day and Beyond, the website, will support curriculum learning and all the other aspects of the project like the exhibitions and publications.

It will include a collection of written, recorded and photographic materials and artefacts and information about the varied experiences of the second world war, from North Africa to women working in the factories.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Tessa Jowell, announced back in September 2003 that Lottery funding would support a programme of activities relating to the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war. She warmly endorsed today’s announcement.

She said, "This project is a great opportunity, on the 60th anniversary of D-Day, for young people to fully understand the great sacrifices that were made during the most remarkable time in our recent history. It will give the veterans of World War Two the chance to tell their story and that means we will keep the memory alive."

The New Opportunities Fund distributes National Lottery money to health, education and environment projects across the UK.

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