As the nation marks the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme, John Spellar MP urges Sandwell to apply for Heritage Lottery Fund money to explore the stories of the First World War.


Following the phenomenal success of its community grants programme First World War: then and now, HLF has made an additional £4 million available for communities looking to explore, conserve and share local heritage of the First World War. Grants are available between £3,000 and £10,000.


Thanks to National Lottery funding, thousands of young people and communities throughout the UK have already been involved in activities marking the Centenary such as: researching and recording local heritage; conserving and finding out more about war memorials; and using digital technology to share the fascinating stories they uncover.  This new money will help even more people get involved to explore a greater range of stories including those surrounding the Somme campaign, which lasted from July to November 1916.


John Spellar MP said: “These projects and stories have been an inspiration.  It’s so important that we remember the impact of this war one hundred years on.  There is still time to apply for National Lottery money and I would urge anyone in Sandwell with an idea for their own project to get in touch with HLF.” 


Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the HLF, said: “The demand for National Lottery funding for First World War projects has been phenomenal, so much so we’ve decided to make extra money available. This will mean everyone, in particular more young people, can explore the momentous events of a war that shaped our nation, Europe and the world. This year marks the Centenary of the Battle of Somme and if groups want support for projects examining its impact do think about applying now.”


The Battle of the Somme lasted for 141 days, ending on 18 November 1916.

There are now 1,520 First World War projects taking place across the UK, thanks to more than £77million of investment from HLF.


Projects already underway show the breadth and scale of First World War stories being explored and shared across the country:


  • Local people from Tottenham and Walthamstow in London showed how they have been exploring their family history to see if any of their relatives fought in the war;


  • Young people from North Tyneside demonstrated how they have been using social media to retell the stories of local soldiers; and


  • Young women in Birmingham shared what they have been uncovering about the experiences of women who worked in factories during the conflict in particular the Birmingham Small Arms factory in Small Heath.


More information on how to apply for HLF funding is available at

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