Ropley History Network and Archive – Lottery Heritage Grant Success

Lottery Heritage Grant application – Our bid has been successful!        

Great news!   While we have all been struggling with the COVID restrictions and dismal weather, some of the RHN&A steering group have been compiling an application for funding  from the Lottery Heritage Fund  ‘To create and launch a Website and digital archive to support Ropley’s growing history network’.

After much writing, Zoom meetings and acquiring letters of support from various local interested groups, we submitted the application, with fingers crossed.  We have just learnt that the project has being awarded with the full grant of £10.000. This funding will enable us to move forward with our planned project what will hopefully start this May.

So, we thought you all would be interested to see the actual main brief that we wrote showing the details of what we intend to achieve as per the terms and conditions of the grant awarded.

  • Inspired by the success of our recently formed Village History Network, the project intends to develop and launch a Website and digital archive to store and make available content from the existing village archive and new donations. It will also document the evolving nature of life in our rural village from historically generations living and working in and around the village to what we have now, a mix of commuter and local residents, to share that change and it’s impact with new arrivals that are keen to learn about it.
  • Our Network encourages individuals from the community to meet, physically, notwithstanding current restrictions, or virtually including through their Facebook page, to share and discuss their areas of interest and bring together other villagers who have a common interest in a subject of study. Already residents have come together in a number of separate research projects. The Website and digital archive will enable the Network to grow, be flexible, resilient and responsive to environmental factors, eg COVID restrictions and will continue to deliver a successful outcome for the project allowing people of all ages, to be involved, share and learn.
  • The local school and other local community and heritage groups have enthusiastically offered to be involved in learning and recording more about the local history, including interviewing members of our community to preserve materials and memories. The intention is to link their websites and archives to encourage involvement and sharing to a wider audience.
  • Secured local grants have enabled us to purchase equipment to digitise and preserve some of the existing village archive. With still much more to do, we then need an online archive to enable existing materials to be made accessible to all. We expect the archive to be continuously added to by members of the existing network, and others, contributing photographs, recordings and documents, of the history and village life in the locality
  • Project funding will also cover the training of volunteers, and the purchase of audio equipment.
  • Involvement and contributions will be on an informal and voluntary basis.
  • A steering group of initial founders of the Ropley History Network and Archive will manage the website and archive. They have much knowledge of the local area and also experience in research techniques.
  • They will also provide evidence that the project has achieved its intended outcomes, monitoring the website and email, evaluate learned knowledge and skills of volunteers. Measure community spirit and wellbeing improvement by levels of participation or engagement.
  • Digital infrastructure is already in place on the existing and well established Ropley Society website. This Charity’s aim is to preserve and protect the environment and character of Ropley. It is a natural platform and signpost for the new digital archive and its History Network.
  • Once digitised, physical archive items can be either stored for use at Network or village functions or offered to the Hampshire Records Office for permanent storage or returned to donors.

Obviously there was a lot more that had to be written to support this main application and as you can read, there is still much more work to be done to achieve the end result so that at the end of this one year project we have a great digital history infrastructure for Ropley and its wider community, for researches and contributors to continue to  use in the future. With that in mind –


As we move forward into the next phase of the work for the RHN&A we are looking for 2 or 3 enthusiastic people to join the Steering group.   Working with the software suppliers and the Hampshire Records Office to build out the website and structure for the digital archive will be a fantastic experience but will require some commitment for the year of the ‘LHF project’.  We need some additional support and leadership for a number of tasks within the project set-up. No experience necessary – we are all going to be learning lots as we do this, but if you feel that you can contribute with enthusiasm and time, please contact us to discuss in more detail.

Very soon, we will let you all know our plans and also our Spring Newsletter will have a lot of detail including dates for future open sessions and other meetings ( Covid dependent of course) so that we get this exciting project off the ground. If you would like to receive the Newsletters, please contact us with your details.

We look forward to seeing you all soon.

Caroline Ludgate 
Ropley History Network and Archive Steering Group.