Elsecar secures funding for new community and volunteering project

Barnsley Museums will be celebrating the history of Elsecar through a new community and volunteering project, Building Bridges and Forging Ahead, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Barnsley Museums have secured funding of £90k from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for an exciting new project to help protect, share, and celebrate the village’s heritage. It will see them working closely with local schools, families, community groups, volunteers and partners from across Barnsley and South Yorkshire.

The project is expected to last 18 months and is also supported by Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust. It will see a variety of community activities, projects, and events taking place across the Elsecar Valley. 

Through the project, local volunteers and groups will capture and celebrate memories, objects, photographs, and archives to help share the history of their village. They will form the basis of a new People’s Collection of Elsecar.

Schools, families and local groups will mark the 200th anniversary of spectacular bridges built at the Milton Ironworks and installed on an island in the Indian Ocean. The project will research and explore Elsecar’s global links and create a spectacular piece of community art.

Volunteer activity days with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and other partners will explore the best ways to protect and improve the natural habitats of the canal.

Exciting new guided tours of the village will take place working with residents, including accessible tours and special storytelling trails developed with local families.

Young people and teenagers will explore innovative new ways of discovering Elsecar using escape rooms and gaming technology. 

Local schools will help develop new learning opportunities and educational programmes for other children taking inspiration from the area and history of the village.

There will be new ‘Elsecar 1980’ additions to the critically acclaimed ‘Elsecar 1880’ digital reconstruction, created by the village’s last generation of miners working with local young people to reimagine Elsecar in the 1980s. 

The project will begin in late spring 2023 and will be completed by the summer of 2024. It promises to have long-lasting impact on the village, local people, community partners and how visitors to the village can explore its history. 

Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Culture and Regeneration, said: “It’s an exciting time for Elsecar. Recognised to be an area of international importance and protected with extended conservation areas, with new Scheduled Ancient Monuments and most of its historic buildings now listed, its history must be celebrated and shared. This project will allow us to work with local communities, including children and young people, collecting precious memories and objects that will tell the stories of Elsecar for future generations to come.”

Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "We are delighted to support Barnsley Museums in celebrating the fascinating heritage of Elsecar. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this exciting and varied programme of activities will bring local people together, to explore the village’s important history and innovations of the time, and ensure this distinct heritage is preserved for years to come. We know heritage can instil a sense of pride in place for communities, and this project is sure to be a wonderful example of that.”

Find out more information about Elsecar Heritage Centre.