Manchester Jewish social welfare charity, The Fed, is celebrating a major boost to the momentum of a crucial project, following the announcement that they are to receive a substantial award from The National Heritage Lottery Fund.

The grant will underwrite the future of The Fed’s My Voice Manchester project for the next two years, enabling us to move onto the next stage of development.

The central thrust of the project will shift from recording and publishing the whole life-stories of Holocaust Survivors and Refugees, to ensuring that their legacies live on. It will see the creation of an educational resources for schools, colleges, further education, and other establishments who teach about the Holocaust, with the provision of support to the Survivors themselves and formal and informal educators to enable optimal use of resources.

The package will include the completed books alongside a range of video and audio recordings of Survivors delivering excerpts from their life-story books as well as offering in-person audiences with storytellers where they will give readings and answer questions.

A new Heritage and Learning Officer is being recruited who will support Survivors in sharing their stories during recordings and at live events.

The team will support schools in developing and offering a Guardian Programme, which will enable pupils to learn directly from individual storytellers, and pledge to share their stories with others, both now and in the future.

Related to this, My Voice will offer a select number of schools who successfully integrate the project’s resources into their curriculum the opportunity of becoming ‘Beacon’ Schools. As such, they will take responsibility for sharing their ideas with other schools to encourage a similar approach to Holocaust education, where there is far less emphasis on statistics and more on personal storytelling.

The project aims to help fulfill the passionate desire of its storytellers for their stories to live on for all time by collating an interwoven collection of personal accounts, each endorsing the veracity of the others, and acting as a powerful counterweight to the body of material that seeks to deny or distort the truth about the Holocaust.

The money, according to My Voice manager, Juliette Pearce, will “enable the amplification of the Survivors’ voices and ensure that their remarkable life-stories will live on forever.

“This will move the focus from the ungraspable statistic of six million deaths to personal local stories that enable students to conceptualize what it meant to be caught up in the Holocaust.

“At the same time, they will hear how it is possible to survive the most despicable atrocities and go on to live wonderful lives as fully contributing members of society.

“We are incredibly grateful to The National Heritage Lottery Fund and to all the National Lottery players for making this possible.”

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