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We won Heritage Lottery Fund Support for our WWI Centenary Project!

Bradford YMCA today received £45,000 in Heritage Lottery Funding to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War – a conflict that affected more than 37,000 lives in our city alone. With the veterans of that war all but gone, local young people will keep the story of Bradford’s heroes alive as they recreate the YMCA tea hut (a network of relief stations that stretched from Bradford to the battlefields), plant a ration garden and research Bradford’s WW1 history.

In just ten days from the outbreak of war, the YMCA had set up 250 safe places for soldiers on their way to the Front. They offered tea, food, warmth and friendship at railway stations, ports and forward bases from which thousands of men stepped into the unknown. The number of YMCA huts grew into the thousands as the war went on and spread across the world. One hundred years later, the replica tea huts will again offer refreshment, friendship and support as well as the chance to learn about our shared First World War history.

Young people in Bradford including pupils from Carlton Bolling College and Ilkley Grammar School are being asked to explore their heritage of 100 years ago; YMCA Tea Huts are an ideal starting point for this, their story stretches from Bradford to the front line in France and as far as Egypt and Russia. The project will enable local young people to come together to research, design and build their own replica Tea Hut to take out to events to showcase the service the YMCA provided in wartime, as well as discover, with the support of Bradford Libraries Local Studies department, how their own families lived through the war; they will then be able to retell history for other young people today.

Bradford YMCA is calling for interested individuals of any age whether they are a young peson who wants to learn what their great, great grandparents would have done or a keen gardener who would like to plant a WW1 vegetable garden to help combat “food shortages”. In particular we are looking for volunteers who are keen to share the local learning they already have by manning the Tea Hut when it goes out to events.

Commenting on the award, Jackie Vicars, the leader of the project said: “What wonderful news, now we can put into place all the marvelous plans we have for commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War and the support given by the YMCA to the people living during those times and bring Bradford’s story to life.”

Bradford Libraries are supporters of the Lottery funded YMCA Tea Hut Project as part of the district’s commemoration of the anniversary of WW1. Both the project and Local Studies have sympathetic aims: encouraging and supporting young people to research their heritage, and documenting the history and development of Bradford and its ethnic communities.

Fiona Spiers, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Every area has its own stories of their involvement in the First World War at home and abroad. By using the history of the YMCA Tea Huts as a starting point, young people will learn about the impact of the war on their local area, and further afield.”

Helen Grant, the Minister leading the First World War commemorations said: “The Tea and Remembrance project is a wonderful way to mark 100 years since the start of the First World War. In rebuilding, replanting and researching the past, Bradford’s story of bravery and sacrifice will be brought to life for another generation.”

For more information about Tea & Remembrance, check out the page or contact Jackie Vicars or Rachel Rickards on 01274 307 228 or teahut@bradfordymca.org.uk.

Posted by Danielle Travers on Tuesday, 18 March @ 14:15

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