We can help local communities to engage with their heritage which in turn helps to bring together communities, cultivates community cohesion and assists greatly with place branding and placemaking, in support of economic development.
Over the past decade Stuart has developed and overseen a range of projects designed to promote social aims – fostering a sense of pride and a sense of place in West Yorkshire’s diverse communities – through participation in activities related to the local heritage. Most people, especially the young, may be turned off by ‘history’ when it’s something that happened in other places, but their interest can be captured when they engage with the history of the place where they live. Everywhere has a history, and everywhere has a surprisingly wide range of resources to enable people to investigate its past communities and their way of life.
Projects over the last decade have focused on a former mill owner’s Victorian mansion in Batley (in partnership with the Indian Muslim Welfare Society), a ‘lost’ air raid shelter in Ravensthorpe, and on Cliffe Castle in Keighley and Bolling Hall in Bradford – the last two part of the My Place initiative which received substantial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. All these were delivered through West Yorkshire Joint Services. Over the past year, a heritage project has been piloted in Mirfield at the site of its medieval castle and church.