Get to know your place better and create your own digital life story book – with free access to archive photos and historic maps of Worcester
Worcester City Council in partnership with Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, has developed two new and exciting online platforms, thanks to support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The platforms, 'Life Stories - Herefordshire and Worcestershire' and 'Know Your Place', provide an opportunity for reminiscing, and the revival of memories through digital archiving and online life story books.
Know Your Place Worcester at kypworcester.org.uk is a free online platform which gives access to hundreds of archive photos, historic maps and pieces of data about Worcester. This new easy-to-use tool will enable people to find out more about their local area, reconnect with their past and explore the city's rich heritage.
Users will also be able to contribute their own knowledge, memories and images to the site, ensuring that the content will grow and become relevant to an increasing number of people.
Alongside it, Worcester Life Stories will enable local people to capture their family history and what is important to them in an easily accessible and intuitive way, presented as a private and personal digital life story.
Authors will be able to upload photos, written and audio text, as well as videos, into their own private personal digital book. The books can be downloaded, shown as a slideshow or used interactively.
The two new platforms are set to launch together on Saturday 24 April.
Sheena Payne-Lunn, Worcester City Council's Historic Environment Record Officer, has been using archive photography from the same collection as part of a series of online quizzes throughout the last year. Over 100,000 quiz entries have been received with residents sharing memories on former shops and pubs, places of work and long-lost landmarks.
"As the lockdown quizzes have demonstrated, there's a real appetite among current and former Worcester residents to reconnect with their past and to swap memories with others with similar experiences," explains Sheena.
"The Know Your Place Worcester site at kypworcester.org.uk will help people to rekindle memories by looking at archive photos of streets, shops and prominent places.It will also be a powerful tool for anyone who wants to research family history, explore local archaeology or find out about how previous generations lived in their street or neighbourhood."
Worcester Life Stories is a bespoke new online platform hosted by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, available to residents across both counties.
"Engaging in this type of activity has recognised benefits for our wellbeing. It also has the potential to enhance relationships with professionals, carers and family members as well as support care. Traditionally a pen and paper experience, research tells us that digital life stories may be an even more powerful tool for triggering memories and bringing people together", explains Dr Natasha Lord, Lead Clinical Psychologist for Older People's Mental Health.
"People have expressed their delight over the creation of the platforms and how they will be enable people to capture and share their lives in a way that they have not done before."
To find out more about each of the platforms, join the virtual launch on Saturday 24 April from 2.00 to 4.30pm. Joining details will be provided upon registration at lifestoriesherefordshireandworcestershire.eventbrite.co.uk The launch will also be streamed via Facebook, YouTube and Webex.
Worcester Life Stories is supported by Platform Housing, Historic England, University of Worcester Association of Dementia Studies, Worcestershire Association of Carers, Worcester Warriors, Tudor House Museum of Local Life and Bristol City Council.
The University of Worcester Association of Dementia Studies will be exploring the impact of Worcester Life Stories on mental health and wellbeing.