Hackney and Islington groups get grants to tell stories

The Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded ten grants of up to �10,000 to Hackney and Islington-based groups as part of ‘All Our Stories’ - a grassroots story-telling project.

Inspired by the BBC series The Great British Story, which looked at history through the eyes of ordinary people, the project will delve into the untold past of various British communities.

As well as gathering personal stories, the grant-winners will be looking at quirky customs, traditions and other aspects of local history.

In Hackney, the funding will enable a pensioners’ group to make a film about local buildings and members of the Jamaican community will make a proverb and story project.

Other Hackney grants are going to a project based on the industrial heritage of Hackney City Farm, a history and heritage project based in West Hackney, a memory gathering project organised by the charity Integratus, and an oral history project called Shoreditch Storybank.

In Islington, the winning groups are planning a poetry project called My Archway, an inter-generational memory project, a children’s history project based on elderly people living on the Market Estate and an Italian culinary history project called Garibaldi & Gelato.

The Shoreditch Storybank project aims to interview residents of all ages with the aim of producing an archive of local voices.

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“The local stories will be made into an audio tour which can be downloaded as an app, so you can walk around Shoreditch and stand in the place where the stories actually happened,” said Lorna McGinty, a coordinator at the Hoxton Hall community centre which started the project.

She does not anticipate any problem with finding people prepared to talk. “People have a really strong connection to the area and want to get their stories heard - especially the older generations,” she added.

The Garibaldi & Gelato project, run by St Luke’s Central Street Cookery School, aims to highlight the gastronomic heritage brought by Italian migrants to Clerkenwell over the last century.

The project will make videos of cookery demonstrations and organise a gastronomic heritage walk, culminating in the publication of a cookbook.

St Luke’s spokeswoman, Sofia Lurrinua-Craxton said: “Clerkenwell has a strong and vibrant community who love where they live but some know very little about ‘Little Italy’. We are all really excited about telling people about our findings and sharing our heritage and history.”