Somerstown Stories project has been signed off by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This marks the end of the grant funding from HLF…but not the end of the project. On-going interest from the local community has sparked three follow-on workshops at Priory School, Portsmouth Foyer and Somerstown Adventure Playground.
Each event has been tailored to meet the needs of the individual venue and are noticeably different in feel and approach. For the Adventure Playground, for example, we’re considering how a derelict piece of nearby land could possibly be transformed into a wildlife garden, and to help the children and their families understand what this could look like we’re borrowing from Helen Oxenbury’s ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ story, whilst we explore the nature reserve at Admiral Lord Nelson School in the north of the city.
At Priory School, students will be exploring archive maps and photos and then going on a walk round the area, applying their newly acquired knowledge to real locations around the school. This will then be linked to literacy based work, using Somerstown Stories as inspiration.
This work has been funded by the Community Development Foundation’s Community First funding stream, and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to continue to share the stories of Somerstown!
Listen out for Sharon’s interview with Terry Powell on Express FM which is being recorded on April 24th and should be aired shortly afterwards, for more info on these new projects!
Posted in Wider Community Activities | Tagged 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt', Community Development Foundation, Community First, Express FM, Helen Oxenbury, Portsmouth Foyer, Priory School, Somerstown Adventure Playground, Terry Powell | Leave a Comment »
The photo above shows the Somerstown Stories scrapbook – a visual record of the lifespan of the project to date. There is also a copy of the ‘Somerstown Stories’ book, which is now available to buy through the website, and a booklet about a creatve design workshop run in partnership with the University of Portsmouth’s School of Architecture
They say that as one door closes, another opens, and that certainly seems to be true for Somerstown Stories. Today the evaluation materials are being sent off to the Heritage Lottery Fund, and that phase of this 2 1/2 year project comes to an end.
It has been a fantastic project, and I’m delighted with how local residents have engaged with it and been willing to share their stories and photos of the area! Somerstown Stories could never have been the success it has been without their involvement.
Interest continues to build around the project, and this is by no means the end – the project website and Facebook page will continue to be updated and local people of all ages can continue to share their stories.
All the historic materials are being catalogued by local volunteers and will soon be delivered to the Local History Centre to become the Somerstown Archive. All that has been learnt and shared will belong to the city, and people can continue to access those materials and add to them.
It’s been a priviledge to be involved in this work, and I’d like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to the people of Somerstown who have helped to make this such an outstanding project!
Sharon Court, project leader
You can still get involved: look us up on Facebook ‘Somerstown Stories’ or follow us on Twitter: @SomerstownStory
Posted in Library/History Centre, Stories, Wider Community Activities | Leave a Comment »
February saw some great events taking place in the area, in partnership with the University of Portsmouth.
The first took place in half-term at Somerstown Adventure Playground, where we hosted a ‘Somerstown Stories Family Fun Day’! Activities included dressing-up (which the children thoroughly enjoyed!), wartime cooking, exploring maps & photographs and watching old film footage of Portsmouth in the past. We all had a great time, and I’m almost certain there weren’t any cakes or scones left at the end of the day!
This photo shows the tour group inside what will become the gallery and atrium area.
The second event was aimed more at adults, a special Community Tour of the Eldon Building, which was a tour of two halves! The first part took us round the new Eldon Building extension, which should be ready for students in September this year, and then a visit round the existing building, to explore the wealth of course options and facilities there.
Barry Jones grew up in the area, and remembered when the building was first constructed around 1958. He remembered playing cricket on Bedford Road, which now lies beneath the carpark at the back of the building. His boyhood feelings about the arrival of ‘these arty types’ can be found in the ‘Somerstown Stories’ book, which is now available to buy!
Pam Fontana, another long-standing resident emailed to say: “Thank you so much for making this tour available on 28th February. I found it fascinating from my own point of view….I have been passing the building several times a week for over 50 years, but have never thought to go in. Perhaps when the new art gallery is open, one will feel less inhibited.”
The University’s Creative and Cultural Industries faculty is located at the Eldon Building, and the building work was seen as an ideal opportunity for the University to strengthen relationships with its neighbours. If you have any memories of Eldon Building or the surrounding area, why not let us know?
If you’d like to buy a copy of the book, you can click here to find out more:
The book is being sold at cost price, so no profit is being made from the sale of the books. If you buy one, you get the option to get another at half price, making them both just £16 each. There is also a FREE PDF version which you can download and there will be copies available in the library shortly.