£32k funding boost

The Rev Dave Herbert, from the United Reformed Church, at the Easter event.
The Rev Dave Herbert, from the United Reformed Church, at the Easter event.

A PROJECT to celebrate the heritage of sheep farming has landed a major funding boost.

 The Think Make Grow community arts company has been awarded £32,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to work in partnership with the North Northumberland Mission Partnership of the United Reformed Church.

 The grant will secure the long-term future of its Sheep Tales Project, which aims to promote and record the importance of sheep farming and related crafts, past and present in the Glendale area.

 The funding was celebrated on Sunday at Chillingham Barns before an afternoon event which included a tour of the agricultural museum, community picnic and worship.

Diana Herbert, a member of the project’s steering group, said: “It is fantastic news that we have secured this amount of funding and we are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“We have already done some small pilot events to test the project, but this will allow us to progress to much larger scale activities so that we can make a record of our sheep farming and shepherding heritage for the current and future generations of people who live in and visit Glendale and north Northumberland.

“This will help people not only reconnect with their history, but also look at how we preserve this knowledge for the future.”

Ivor Crowther, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the North East, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to be supporting this valuable project that will look at shepherding in north Northumberland.

“The project will help bring people of all ages together to learn about this important part of the North East’s agricultural heritage.

“Sheep Tales will offer local people the chance to get hands-on through a series of great activities and we know it will be a success.”

The ambitious project includes a variety of activities aimed at all ages in the community and will underline how important sheep are to the region – shaping our environment, our economy and our history. It will involve farmers, shepherds, naturalists, artists, administrators, churches, teachers and planners and focus on heritage, crafts, environmental and animal welfare issues. The proposed plans include extensive activities with schools and community groups based around wool and feltmaking under the guidance of Think Make Grow artist Anna Turnbull.

A pilot during the Easter and half-term holidays attracted full capacity attendance.

In addition there will be the recording of photographic and oral histories of young and old involved with sheep rearing.