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West Ham MP Lyn Brown becomes heritage charity patron for its 20th birthday

PUBLISHED: 19:00 16 May 2018

New charity patron, MP Lyn Brown, speaking at the birthday celebration. Picture: Eastside Community Heritage

New charity patron, MP Lyn Brown, speaking at the birthday celebration. Picture: Eastside Community Heritage

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MP Lyn Brown has been made a patron of an east London heritage project to celebrate its 20th birthday.

The twentieth birthday celebration at the House of Commons. Picture: Eastside Community HeritageThe twentieth birthday celebration at the House of Commons. Picture: Eastside Community Heritage

At a celebratory event at the House of Commons, it was announced that the West Ham MP would take up the position at Eastside Community Heritage.

The charity runs projects across east London, documenting the experiences of residents and providing training for budding historians.

Lyn Brown said: “I am delighted to have been made a trustee of Eastside. They have produced some wonderfully powerful work and play a vital role in preserving local history. I am so excited to see what they will do next.”

Eastside began in 1993 as the Stratford City Challenge Community Heritage Project. It was established to document the drastic changes happening during Stratford’s regeneration.

It became a registered charity in 1998, and since, has worked with more than 1,000 community groups, given more than 3,000 school workshops, trained almost 1,000 volunteers and preserved 30,000 photos.

The charity preserves photos and records people’s stories in an attempt to create a comprehensive history of east London.

Judith Garfield, the director of Eastside, said: “I cannot express in words how important and special it is when we complete a project and the participants see their words in a book, film, or exhibition on a website. It gives meaning to their lives and for that moment they are special.

“Our work has broken down barriers, changed perceptions, and brought people together to understand, value, enjoy and recognise a shared heritage. We have spent the past 20 years at Eastside giving history back to the people, to tell it in their own words.”

The organisation created the Hidden Histories Archive, which contains 4,000 oral histories of east Londoners. Eastside also implemented the Working Lives of the Thames Gateway project, which recorded 280 stories from those who’ve worked in declining industries in east London.

The charity also developed a volunteering programme, which has resulted in many going on to a career in heritage work, and recently it became an accredited centre for a cultural heritage qualification which helps people get employment in the sector.

In July, Eastside will be launching an exhibition celebrating 70 years of the NHS.

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