KIRKLEES schools have secured Arts Council grants.

Children from primary schools in the Batley area are to benefit from an award of nearly £5,000 from Arts Council England, Yorkshire, which will provide participants with an opportunity to work with a professional theatre company in a community history project this summer.

The lottery award, allocated through the Arts Council’s Grants for the arts programme, will support the My Place – Al-Hikmah Project.

This aims to encourage young people to recognise and celebrate their community’s diversity through heritage work. They will be helped to do this by drama workshops led by the Leeds-based Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah.

The project, run by West Yorkshire Joint Services in partnership with Kirklees Council and the Indian Muslim Welfare Society, will see young people participating in an authentic archaeological excavation in the grounds of the Al-Hikmah Centre in Batley which used to be the home of Sir Mark Oldroyd, a local politician and mill owner.

The project will allow children to look at old documents to learn about their community over the last 200 years.

They will create their own archives for future generations to learn about life in the year 2010 and the children will have a chance to forge new friendships with children from other schools.

The project will end with a celebration event in July to showcase the young people’s work.

Graham Hebblethwaite, Chief Officer of West Yorkshire Joint Services, which is coordinating the project, said: “We are delighted that the Arts Council is supporting the work that we are undertaking.

“By working with Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah, we believe that these young people will be able to engage more deeply with historical materials as they come to identify with their own histories and those of their communities.

“Culture and heritage play a significant role in the community cohesion agenda, with initiatives such as the My Place – Al-Hikmah project demonstrating how young people can be inspired and rewarded with a lasting sense of pride.”