• Display at Gosport Museum and Art Gallery, which will be part of the Heritage Generator Programme
  • Display at Gosport Museum and Art Gallery, which will be part of the Heritage Generator Programme
  • Display at Gosport Museum and Art Gallery, which will be part of the Heritage Generator Programme

Charity Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT) has embarked on a £325,000, three-year project that aims to celebrate Gosport’s heritage and invest in its future.

With £245,000 secured from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, £12,500 from Gosport Borough Council and self-investment, HCT’s Heritage Generator Programme will shine a spotlight on Gosport’s rich heritage. The programme aims to unearth some of the town’s untold stories, develop hands-on heritage experiences and will also invest in both individuals and groups to help promote and support the sustainability of heritage in the town for the future. Running until 2026, the programme features a number of different strands – some of these will invite the local community to get involved, while others will be open to those who work in and around the local heritage sector, with the opportunity to co-create projects with and for the public. 

One of the backbones of Heritage Generator is a free training programme, which will begin in autumn 2024. This programme is designed to help heritage organisations, individuals and groups develop key skills, supporting them so that they can make a real difference in the work that they are doing in and around the town. Anyone participating in the training programme will be eligible to apply for follow-on community grants of up to £5,000, so that they can put their learning into action through a community project.

Taking place in the Imagination Refinery on Gosport’s High Street, the Makers Guild will be working with local artists to design a board game based on stories, fact and legend from Gosport’s past. Co-created with the community, workshops to start the development of the game are underway, with the launch of the finished game planned for November of this year. Music is also part of Heritage Generator. Taking inspiration from the history of The Criterion, community groups are being asked to explore the part that music has played in Gosport; the result of these workshops will be turned into an exhibition that will be launched for this year’s Heritage Open Days and will tour around the town.

The final strand of the project will take place at Gosport Museum and Art Gallery, which is operated by Hampshire Cultural Trust. The stories which are currently on display in Gosport Museum were all researched and developed by local community groups while the building was closed for refurbishment in 2022. From February 2025, locals will be invited to delve into the museum’s collections – as well as their own personal archives – to develop a new story to be incorporated into the museum displays. 

Charlie Fletcher, Learning and Engagement Coordinator at Hampshire Cultural Trust, commented: “We couldn’t be more delighted to have received funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Gosport Borough Council for this project. Building on the incredible momentum generated by the High Street Heritage Action Zone investment from Historic England, this programme will not only allow us to continue to highlight Gosport’s unique heritage both to the local community and visitors to the town, but it also means that we can invest in the development of skills and experience to help secure the town’s heritage for the future.”

Hampshire Cultural Trust is seeking tutors to take part in the autumn/winter training sessions, more details on these roles and the overall programme can be found at www.hampshireculture.org.uk/gosport-heritage-generator.

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