Heritage Open Days – communities connecting to local heritage during coronavirus

Wakefield Council is investing in four local groups to celebrate and share the heritage of the district's places and people as part of the national Heritage Open Days programme

Four new projects and initiatives from Castleford Heritage Trust, Horbury Civic Society, Pontefract Civic Society and Wakefield Civic Society have received funding from the Council to ensure their activities can reach audiences across the district in safe and innovative ways in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

A range of digital, virtual and educational projects have received investment and will ensure communities can discover and enjoy their local heritage this year.

These newly commissioned projects provide opportunities for Wakefield residents to discover their local heritage and have free access to enriching cultural activities. 

Cllr Jacquie Speight

Cllr Jacquie Speight

​Cllr Jacquie Speight, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: "We are immensely proud of the rich, diverse and unique heritage of the Wakefield district.

"Access to heritage is essential for our residents as culture has such a vital role in helping boost spirits and provide fun and relaxing activities, especially as we continue to feel the profound effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am delighted that, with our support, local heritage organisations will be able to help celebrate and share the Wakefield district's heritage in such innovative and creative ways this year."

Heritage Open Days is England's largest festival of history and culture, taking place every September with over 5,500 events celebrating the diverse history of people and places across the UK.

The Wakefield district has a strong tradition of participating in Heritage Open Days, and this year is no exception. 

In addition to activities from community groups, Wakefield Museums and Castles will also share an exclusive virtual visit to Pontefract Castle dungeon and the Inner Keep and bust some castle myths along the way. 

Wakefield's investment in the district's heritage groups will support the following projects:

  • Castleford Heritage Trust – video tour of the mill to reach audiences who are not able to visit the site safely, support local schools to discover the mill and provide pre-visit support for visitors on the autism spectrum.
  • Horbury Civic Trust – virtual walking tour of Horbury led by Helen Bickerdike of Horbury and Sittington History Group which will be available online, for free for local and further afield audiences who are not able to attend live events.
  • Pontefract Civic Society – research and creation of a local history book written and designed by local school children to explain Pontefract's heritage in an accessible, inspiring and informal way.
  • Wakefield Civic Society – research, curate and deliver a range of online films, talks and presentations covering Wakefield's Hidden Nature, Wakefield as a city of sculpture and public art and sharing the stories of Wood Street. 

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