Imperial War Museums will collate the stories of the eight million people who served in the war online

HLF launches first world war grants programme

Geraldine Kendall, Issue 113/06, p11, 01.06.2013
More initiatives unveiled to mark centenary of the first world war
Key partners in the UK’s first world war commemoration programme have unveiled several initiatives for the coming months.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has launched a £6m small grants programme to enable communities to mark the centenary of the first world war.

First World War: Then and Now will award at least £1m in funding annually between the start of the commemoration in 2014 and its close in 2019.

Grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 will be available to communities and groups across the UK towards conserving the war’s heritage and exploring the impact of the conflict at a local level. 

According to the criteria, projects should include researching, identifying and recording local heritage; creating a community archive or collection; developing new interpretation of heritage; and researching, writing and performing creative material based on heritage sources.

Meanwhile, Imperial War Museums (IWM) and online publishing group Brightsolid have initiated an interactive digital platform to collate stories of the estimated eight million people who served in the war abroad and on the home front.

The Lives of the First World War platform will ask people worldwide to upload documents and photos from museums, libraries, archives and family collections.

The project will also engage the public’s help in linking the material together to tell the stories of servicemen and women. It goes live in the autumn at

An IWM spokeswoman said: “It is our intention that by the end of the centenary, it will serve as a permanent digital memorial and a resource for future generations.”

Organisers hope the UK commemorations will reverse a decline in general knowledge about the war as it moves beyond living memory.

A recent online survey by PR company Fully Booked revealed that the scale of casualties was not widely appreciated, with almost half believing that the number killed in the conflict was 3.5 million rather than 35 million.