Today, the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership, has received £55,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, ‘The Model Village Living History Archive’, in Bessbrook. Led by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and volunteers from the local community (Bessbrook Heritage Group, Bessbrook Development Company and Friends of Derrymore), the project focuses on Bessbrook’s heritage and will allow people to be proud of their village again. It aims to do this by creating innovative interpretation, developing the local skills, knowledge base and networks and engaging with the local community in a fun way and hosting intergenerational and cross community workshops.
The project will enable local young people to discover the origins and explore the history of Bessbook, and people like Elizabeth Nicholson and the Quaker Richardson family. Much of Bessbrook’s heritage project will be about capturing memories, culture and traditions and creating a collection of objects (photographs, documents, books, etc through arts workshops) to illustrate what life was like living in a self-contained model village through key periods in its history – from its establishment through to the closure of the mill.
The Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership is an organisation that works with communities to implement a Landscape Conservation Action Plan. This project, working with local heritage groups, will deliver a fun interactive website and a searchable artefact database. Artefacts, images and information will be gathered at community ‘Show and Tell’ events, and from the local primary school’s small private collection. There will be six historical docu-dramas – a mix of interviews and scripted historical dramas to interpret the most fascinating historical events of Bessbrook’s history.
Secondary school children and young people “Not in Education, Employment, or Training”. will be trained in a combination of media art for community engagement or artefact and historical interpretation.
Commenting on the award, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, Vice Chairperson of the Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism Committee said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. We are confident the project will support and further help develop a strong community network that will bridge the political, religious and generational divide. ”
Pictured: Back Row; Tony Jennings, Rosemary Mulholland, Richard Black, Anne Morgan, Roisin Mulgrew, Darren Rice; Front Row: Sophie McGeeney, Caitlin Carlisle, Edel McGeeney