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Background/ Context

Veterans Reunited Programme

In January 2004, the Big Lottery Fund launched its Veterans Reunited Programme, comprising three different strands: Heroes Return, Their Past Your Future, and Home Front Recall, which had all been developed to support the recognition of the importance of the contributions and sacrifices made by the millions of people in the UK and abroad, who played an indispensable part in the war effort that brought peace to Europe, through commemorative activities coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the events leading up to the end of World War Two.

Taken together, these three strands totalling £49.3 million, helped ensure that all generations of UK residents were able to commemorate the 60th anniversary together, both at home and abroad, as well as preserve, for future generations, the experiences of those momentous events 60 years ago

Heroes Return

This £17 million strand provided funding to Second World War veterans, their wives/husbands, widows/widowers and, where required, their present-day carers to visit the overseas areas where the veterans saw active service. By linking with activities funded through the Their Past Your Future strand, Heroes Return also helped to give young people a better understanding of the efforts and sacrifices made by veterans. Commemorative visits took place during 2004-2005 and grants were made to both veterans’ organisations and individual veterans.

Their Past, Your Future

The £10 million Their Past Your Future, was a UK-wide schools and education strand to give young people the opportunity to learn first-hand from veterans about their experience of war. The Big Lottery Fund worked closely with the Imperial War Museum, LEA’s and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Sector UK-wide to help young people to research and learn about the personal experiences and roles played by forces personnel and civilians.

Competitions enabled schools to take part in World War Two related visits with veterans. The Imperial War Museum has a website (www.theirpast-yourfuture.org.uk) with a wide range of resources for schools to use and details of projects delivered by museums across the UK.

Home Front Recall

The £22.3 million Home Front Recall strand provided grants of between £500 and £20,000 for regional and local projects across the UK in 2004-2005 that commemorated the events of the Second World War and the contributions of different groups in society. The strand funded a very wide range of projects including special community days; reunions and exhibitions; recordings of the experiences of those who lived through the War; plays and pieces of creative artwork. In addition, the strand funded a number of national grants to organisations such as the TUC to fund a range of commemorative activities.