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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Different types of outreach activity

Many thousands of story gathering events and activities were run by associate centres around the country throughout the project, culminating in the summer of 2005 - the 60th anniversary of the war's end. National celebrations were held on 8 May, during National Commemoration Week from 2-10 July (the midpoint between VE and VJ Day anniversaries), and VJ Day on 15 August. These events included:

  • Victory coffee mornings and 1940s tea parties held in libraries or village halls, supplemented by handling objects and displays supplied by local museums and archives.
  • Airshows or Army and Naval displays where cadets volunteered to collect stories from their elders.
  • 1940s festivals at steam railways, National Trust properties and other heritage venues.
  • IT courses run by local library services, Age Concern, older people's forums and clubs.
  • Fashion shows, tea dances and concert parties.
  • Reminiscence sessions at lunch clubs run by Befriending Societies, Live at Home schemes and community groups of many nationalities and creeds.
  • Film shows and theatre pieces based on local memories.
  • Schools activities both in the classroom and at local museums or libraries.
  • Healthy eating sessions based on reminiscence about wartime food attended by older people and young parents.

Venues and dates

Many of the older people who participated in this project lived in remote or unsafe areas or had limited mobility and transport services available to them. Getting around a busy urban area could be just as hard as making one's way out of a rural village to the nearest library.

Much use was made of mobile IT facilities, Dial-a-Ride or similar subsidised transport schemes, and community outreach services already provided by the various partners. Visiting groups of older people where they habitually met was far better received than requiring participants to make an unaccustomed journey to a new destination, something that might have been impossible for some.

'A daytime event is better, I don't like returning home to an empty house at night.'

'We like it when the Dial a Ride minibus comes and we wonder where we're going!'

Likewise, the time of year and day was an important factor. Events late in the day, especially in the winter months, were often less well attended since less confident participants prefer not to travel in the dark and cold.

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