Special project sees younger generation looking back at Sunderland’s past

Children from Willowfields took part in the Heritage Week run by Keep Active.
Children from Willowfields took part in the Heritage Week run by Keep Active.

Young Wearsiders were given a tour of the history on their own doorsteps as part of a five-week celebration of the city’s heritage.

Around 100 children aged between nine and 11 were invited to join in the event run by Hendon-based Keep Active.

The project was a huge success.

Rachael Lawson

Pupils from Willowfields, Redby, Wessington, Bexhill and St. Leonard’s primaries joined in the events.

They included an historical re-enactment and learning about Sunderland during the First World War with Time Bandits and a Military Bootcamp with Aaron Carabine from the Keep Active team.

They also visited Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens and learn about the city’s heritage and view the LS Lowry exhibition.

They enjoyed a story telling session through art and then created a mural of the River Wear and its land marks in the style of Lowry.

A visit was paid to Sunderland Maritime Heritage Museum to learn about its ship building history and enjoy practical sessions of skills that were developed in the ship yards.

They took a heroes and villain’s tour of the East End with Living History at the Donnison School and a cookery lesson with the Kreative Kitchen.

The activities were backed by Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Living History at The Donnison School, Sunderland Maritime Heritage Museum, Time Bandits and John Sumner.

Rachael Lawson, business development manager for Keep Active (NE) CIC, said: “The project was a huge success.

“Children were able to take part in activities that they have never done before.

“We delivered this project as a pilot to gather evidence in the hope that we will be able to secure further funding from the Heritage Lottery fund which will enable us to deliver the full project to every school in Sunderland.

“We believe it’s important for the children to understand the rich heritage Sunderland has and be able to enjoy it.

“We also worked with Jake Baillie from Sunderland College to provide volunteer opportunities for their media and sports students who were absolutely fantastic in supporting our staff.”

Michaela Newham, Year 5 teacher at Willowfields Primary, said: “The children thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of Heritage Week.

“They particularly enjoyed being able to handle the artefacts when learning about the life of a soldier. 
“Although this was great I would say the gentleman could use some more child friendly language as a lot of the information went over the children’s heads as they didn’t know a lot of what he was talking about.

“The cooking class was a blast and they were really experimental in trying all of the foods even though they didn’t know what some of them were.

“They learnt a lot about LS Lowry and enjoyed listening to the song about his paintings, over and over again.

“I know a particular favourite was the museum where they got to find out a lot about ship building and how hard it was back in the day. They thought the hammer and nail challenge was great.”