Heritage Lottery Fund support for Aird School Celebratory Committee

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A GRANT of £3,600 was received by The Aird School Celebratory Committee from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in support of an exciting project ‘Aird School Memories’.

Led by volunteers from the local community, the project has recorded the life and times of Aird Primary School, which will give future generations an insight into how their ancestors were educated.

Commenting on the award, Committee Chair Donald Mackenzie said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Through this project we are pleased that an important part of the heritage of Aird and the surrounding villages will not be forgotten and we are confident the project will deliver a rich source of material for future generations.”

With the construction of the new Point primary school in Bayble, 131 years of educational provision at Aird has ceased; and it is hoped that, through this project, a way of life will be recorded so that future generations can experience one aspect of their parents’/ grandparents’ lives.

Throughout the project – which has culminated in a special commemorative book to be launched on Friday, September 30 – volunteers went out and about in the local community, talking to groups and individuals about their memories of the school.

The local community were also asked to search for old photographs for inclusion in the book and retired staff and local archives were also used to build up a picture of how the educational provision in Aird Primary School had changed over its 131 years.

The project hopes to be able to involve all aspects of the community. Volunteers, including the current school pupils, will be involved in going out into the local community and talking to groups and individuals. Through these discussions it is hoped that a rich source of stories of life in the school will be built up. The local community will be asked to search through their photograph albums for any pictures relating to the school. These photographs will be scanned to create an archive. Retired staff and local archives will also be used to build up a picture of how the educational provision in Aird Primary School has changed over the 131 years of its life.

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, the head of the HLF in Scotland, Colin Mclean said: “This is an excellent project for the community and especially the young people of Point on the Island of Lewis.

“As well as the vast collection of skills they will develop, this in-depth look at their own educational heritage will help give them a greater sense of identity. The loss of any school is always keenly felt by the community, yet this project will, to a certain extent, allow the school to live on.”