A GROUP of young people are looking into how life as a child in the First World War compares to living in the 21st Century.
Investing in Children secured £9,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help with the new project, entitled “What happened to children whose parents went away and needed care during the conflict.”
The eight youngsters, aged between nine and 18, some of who have had experience of care agencies, have recently started researching a number of different aspects of how war impacted on childhood.
These include finding out how boys and girls were treated differently, what happened to girls when they were deported to other countries by ship, and how life differed for the rich and poor children.
Robert Johnson, a project officer for Investing in Children, said the funding was secured in May and although the young people have already carried out a lot of research, they have so many plans in order to get the best insight possible.
“They have not been working on this very long but there has already been so much interest in what they are doing,” he said.
“They have so many ideas and they are really fascinated by what it was like. Some of them have experienced care system and now they are finding out how it was different back then.
“The research is looking at who cared for the children and what happened to them. They want to find out as much information as possible.”
The group has already been given an insight into life back then by a grandfather from Pelton and they are working hard to line up more interviews to help with the project.
It has not been decided how the information will be used once the young people have finished their investigation, but the Durham Light Infantry Collection is said to be interested and a presentation is likely to be made to a number of specially selected schools in the area.
A number of universities, including Newcastle, are also looking at how they could get involved.
The youngsters, who are from the Bishop Auckland area, are also planning to contact the children’s charity Barnardo’s to learn more about the support they give to children who need it most.
Investing in Children is an organisation concerned with the human rights of children and young people, by asking questions about the way children and young people are treated in society.
Mr Johnson added: “The project is in its early days but the young people are really keen and they have so many ideas and they are asking lots of questions.
“We have had quite a lot of interest from other organisations into what they doing.
“There has even been a suggestion they could commission their findings into a play but we will have to see what happens.”
The money from the Heritage Lottery Fund is the latest grant the Bishop Auckland Investing in Children have received.
It follows on from a grant for £28,500 the organisation received last year to find out more about the 900-year history of the town’s Auckland Castle and how young people could help make it more accessible to their peers.