British reservists of the Grenadier Guards reporting for duty the day after Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914. By permission of Imperial War Museums

First world war centenary plans announced

Rebecca Atkinson, 12.10.2012
Includes funding for IWM London and trips to trenches for every secondary school
A four-year programme of events and additional funding to mark the centenary of the start of the first world war were announced by David Cameron yesterday.

The prime minister said he wanted to build a “national commemoration” to mark the anniversary. An advisory panel chaired by culture secretary Maria Miller has been set up to oversee the programme.

Included in the plans is an additional £5m of funding from the Treasury towards the £35m refurbishment of the first world war galleries at the Imperial War Museum London, which will open in 2014. The money will be paid from fines imposed on financial services firms for misconduct.

There will also be a £5.3m education programme for schoolchildren, jointly funded by the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government, which will pay for two student ambassadors and a teacher from each maintained secondary school in England to visit first world war battlefields and undertake research.

A grant of up to £1m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund will support HMS Caroline, the last surviving warship from the first world war.

Andrew Murrison, the special representative in the preparations for the centenary, said: “From  2014, nations, communities and individuals from across the world will come together to mark, commemorate and remember the lives of those who lived, fought and died in the first world war.

"The UK’s programme has been carefully planned to emphasise remembrance but also to recognise the global impact of those terrible years, and what today’s young people can learn from it.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) also announced an additional £6m for community projects to encourage young people to explore, conserve and share local heritage of the first world war.

Running for six years from 2013, the new programme will provide grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 to local community projects that involve young people aged between 11 and 25.

Jenny Abramsky, chairwoman of the HLF, said: “Our new programme will enable young people to explore the history and impact of the first world war and broaden their understanding of its indelible effect on their own communities.”

HLF has already allocated £9m to projects marking the centenary, including £2.5m for the Tank Museum in Dorset to house 130 “at risk” vehicles and £4.5m for the first world war centenary project at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) London.

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