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Living Memory Project, Belfast

26 February 2016

The CWGC made an announcement in Northern Ireland, today, February 26, with details of its Living Memory project which will highlight and engage communities with its war dead.

The launch was held at Linen Hall Library, Belfast, and was supported by the World War One Centenary Committee in Northern Ireland, to encourage locals to visit the 2,700 war graves of both world wars found in Northern Ireland in 400 cemeteries and burial grounds.

The Living Memory Project as a whole is designed to raise awareness of the 300,000 CWGC war graves and commemorations in the UK.

This year, the CWGC, in partnership with Big Ideas Company, are asking the public to re-connect with the war dead buried in their communities. CWGC wants the public to visit these sites, take a personal interest in those buried there, organise a commemoration of their own and ultimately, champion these places - tell their friends or other local community groups that these war graves must not be forgotten.

In 2015, a range of community groups including schools, libraries, sports clubs, history groups, youth organisations, veterans and community associations took part in a pilot scheme.

At the start of the trial, only 47 percent of participants were aware of CWGC sites in the UK, but by the end of the project, 100 percent could name a local site.

The project also saw an increase in the level of confidence in those using the CWGC database. Prior to the project, only 29 percent said members of their group felt confident undertaking their own research, but by the end, this had increased to 82 percent.

A consequence of the project is that a diverse range of communities and individuals are now more aware of the CWGC and its work and mission and are eager to engage with the organisation. This includes future development of their own particular narratives and stories around both world wars.

Age UK Manchester

In the weeks leading up to Armistice, members of Age UK Wythenshawe's craft group crocheted poppies, and members of the gardening group made little wooden crosses.

Children from St. Anthony's Primary School and Willow's Primary School, Wythenshawe spent time learning about the world wars, and the CWGC sites in the local cemetery.

A few days before armistice, two members of the daycare centre and two members of staff visited St Wilfred's Cemetery, Manchester.

Both older gentlemen had served in the war, but like the rest of the group, and schools, were not aware of the local CWGC sites.

They laid wooden crosses and crocheted poppies at the graves and took photos to share with the other residents.

On 11/11/15 the children joined the elderly residents for an old-fashioned tea dance, where the children shared what they had learned about the war and graves during their lessons and talked about the war with the older people.