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Welcome Stories Reveal Lancaster's diverse community

John Freeman
A new web site, Welcome Stories, has just gone live, detailing stories from local people about their experiences of 'welcome and belonging' in the Lancaster and Morecambe District.

Over the next few weeks more stories will be added to the website, which has its origins in 2003, when local man Paul Speight commissioned a photograph to be taken of local residents on the steps of Lancaster Town Hall.

Paul wanted the photograph to reflect some of the diversity that he knew existed within our local population and around 80 people, of all ages, with many different heritages and from varied backgrounds, gathered to appear in the photograph. The photograph, together with comments from the participants, was made into a poster and became known as 'The Welcome Poster'.

In bringing so many people together who all had something to say about welcome and belonging, The Welcome Stories Project began, with the NCBI continuing the impetus to explore the ideas and themes raised.

A group of NCBI workers and trained volunteers went out onto the streets to ask people about how welcoming they thought our district was. The written responses, though often brief, reflected many different experiences and provided a lot of food for thought about how people develop a sense of belonging and attachment in an area and provided the inspiration for the current Welcome Stories Oral History Collection.

In 2007, NCBI were awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to gather up to 80 personal stories in the form of oral recordings around the themes of welcome and belonging. With more stories being added over the next few weeks, these are the stories that appear on the web site, reflecting the increasing diversity of Lancaster and Morecambe's community.

Visit the Welcome Stories web site