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Global response to Moray memories project

Date Added - 20/02/13

Older people

A pioneering project gathering the memories of older people from across Moray has resulted in their life experiences generating interest across the world.

The Moray Heritage Memories Project has received almost 19,000 hits since going live last year.

The site – accessible at www.wrvsmoraymemories.co.uk - features an ever-expanding collection of more than 250 reminiscences from older Moray residents remembering their first jobs and lost skills.

The project is a partnership between older people, Moray Council’s community care and museums and libraries services, local history groups and the WRVS.

The site has been accessed by surfers on every continent, as well as being enjoyed closer to home.

Service manager Claire Griffiths, who developed the site, said: “I was contacted just last week by a lady in South Africa.  She searched her friend’s name online and came across her friend’s memory on our website and I was able to help them reunite.

“In this case, it has brought old friends together, but there is a huge educational and social value to the site too.”

Claire and a team of volunteers have visited more than 80 locations in their quest to find out about first jobs and lost skills among the older population of Moray. Volunteers have been helping by reading and listening to the submissions, recording the memories and adding memories to the website via the online form.

Older people from Elgin, Forres, Keith, Buckie, Lossiemouth and Speyside, and many of the  smaller towns and villages of Moray, have taken part in the project, benefiting through social interaction, being interviewed either individually or in groups, sharing their life experiences and feeling valued, listened to and appreciated.

This work is ongoing and any older person in Moray who would like to contribute to the project should use the online submission form or contact Claire on 07525 237093.

The tales shared chart all of life – among them they include stories about the changing face of country living, the hardships caused by the war, growing up in an orphanage and industries of yesteryear.

There are links to additional information using national archives and other related sites, including online film libraries.

“Many of the memories have included amusing stories retelling past events, encounters with the famous and life-changing decisions,” said Claire.

“We have had a number of volunteers who have helped, and school children have also helped collect memories.

“We have been welcomed into sheltered housing, care homes, halls and social clubs as well as individuals’ homes.

“It has been a great example of reaching out to communities, embracing social inclusion, and enriching education, with young people learning about their communities and the people who live in them. It gives young people a greater understanding of how people and events have contributed to the development of their communities.”

Jane Mackie, head of community care for Moray Council said: “The Moray Memories project offers an opportunity for older people to actively contribute to enhancing local history and community heritage resources, and gain enjoyment and satisfaction in doing so.”

It is planned to mount an exhibition later this year in connection with the project, featuring personal memories, photographs, sound recording and donated artefacts.

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