MSDS Marine are thrilled to announce that we will be working in collaboration with The Y in Leicester and funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help engage young people in maritime cultural heritage. The Y is a leading youth homeless charity for Leicester and Leicestershire and provides accommodation and support to young people in crisis. The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded The Y funding from their “Kick the Dust” programme to create their project Y Heritage, a scheme to better engage young people with their local heritage.
The project represents an exciting opportunity to develop how the heritage sector works for and with young people. It strives to provide life changing opportunities for young people who are often excluded from employment, training and education. Many of these young people have gone through trauma and often have complex needs.
Landlocked Leicestershire is not the tradition focus for a maritime archaeology project, yet Stoney Cove is the home of a fascinating 450-year-old wreck! Leicestershire is one of the furthest counties from coastal waters anywhere in the United Kingdom. This can mean limited opportunities for the public, and especially young people, to experience, appreciate and enjoy the wonders of our underwater heritage, let alone find out about, and participate in underwater cultural heritage projects. The Y Heritage Make a Splash! project will focus on working with a core group of eight young people to engage in heritage and share their experiences with a larger audience. One participant will be on a work placement role with MSDS Marine as Lead Ambassador for the duration of the project. The Lead Ambassador will be involved throughout the planning stages of the project and will take a pivotal role in the organisation and delivery of the project and will work with MSDS Marine to reach new audiences.
The core eight participants will gain valuable archaeology and dive training, both of which have transferable skills. Undertaking diver training has many benefits outside of archaeology and can lead to an interest (and potentially a career) in marine archaeology, marine biology or even travelling the world working as a dive guide or instructor. Many of our staff’s interest in diving led to the current careers they now have. Diving also fosters a sense of responsibility, discipline and can give young people the sense of accomplishment and increasing confidence to take on other challenges.
Through the project, the eight ambassadors will gain their PADI open water diving certification with training provided by MSDS Marine and Go Dive. Their open water training will take place at Stoney Cove. Stoney was originally a quarry until it was flooded and became training centre for commercial divers heading off to work in the oil fields of the North Sea. Today, it is a recreational dive spot that’s home to 22 dive attractions and is loved by many divers.
Through collaboration with the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS), the participants will receive accredited training in maritime archaeology. The NAS is a UK based charity dedicated to involving everyone in their mission to protect, record, and research all forms of nautical heritage whilst maintaining the highest ethical standards.
Once trained, the ambassadors will put their skills to use. They will dive on Elizabethan wreck timbers that are over 450 years old! The core project team will become underwater cultural heritage ambassadors and will be supported by MSDS Marine in promoting the project and underwater cultural heritage to other young people in Leicestershire through school visits, blogs, social media and event attendance. The participants will work together to share their experience, excitement and new skill sets with a wider audience in whichever creative way they see fit. MSDS Marine will be supporting them in the use of social media and identifying events to attend to promote the project further.
The application of diving skills, alongside archaeological skills, as part of a real-life recording project means the students will be gaining experience that is only usually available in more coastal areas, and typically at a large cost.
The project takes an innovative approach to underwater cultural heritage participation by looking inland. Traditionally a large amount of work related to underwater cultural heritage takes place in coastal communities with little attention given to inland communities. By working with Y Heritage there is the opportunity to galvanise new groups into action and to provide new advocates for underwater cultural heritage.
We look forward to imparting our passion for underwater heritage through The Y Heritage project and can’t wait to meet our eight ambassadors. Stay posted for further project updates and to meet the team!