Wigan & Leigh win the national Archive Volunteering Award for 2022


06 June 2022
The Archives and Records Association has announced that the Revealing Wigan Archives project by Archives: Wigan & Leigh has won the national Archive Volunteering Award 2022.

The Archive Volunteering Award is given each year to projects which demonstrate how archives have supported volunteers in the previous 12 months.

The awards are supported by the Archives and Records Association [ARA] (who also administer the awards), the UK National Archives, the National Records of Scotland, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Welsh Government.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the 12 months up to May 2022 limited the opportunities of many archives’ volunteers.

Despite this, the ultimate winner, Archives: Wigan & Leigh, put forward an 'outstanding application' for their Revealing Wigan Archives project. ARA report that their volunteer centred approach to the reorganisation of the volunteer offer alongside the opening of their refurbished building, which brought numerous benefits to the service, the volunteers and the local community, was an impressive achievement in any year, without the added complications of operating within the restrictions of the pandemic.

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Lesley O’Halloran, Director of Customer and Culture at Wigan Council said: 

“I am delighted that our project and our amazing volunteers have been recognised like this. Our community highly values the archives, it helps people to connect with their shared heritage and provides a safe accessible space that they can visit throughout the year. It is important that public spaces like ours exist, especially where customers can feel pride in their sense of place and celebrate local history. 

Young people, particularly school children, need exciting and inventive ways to help them become interested in history. We want the next generation to understand the importance of their history and that of the place they live. Our volunteers play a significant role in this. I am sure that they will take great pride in knowing that we have been given this award.”

The two runners-up, The UK National Archives’ In Their Own Write and The Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre’s Know Your Place Wiltshire E-Volunteering Project also showed how adapting their volunteering offer brought benefits beyond simply coping with the various COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions that occurred between March 2020 and February 2022.

The award will be presented at 11am on 7th June at Archives: Wigan & Leigh.

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