A major heritage project documenting the history of our health service is keen to hear from North-East residents with a story to tell about the NHS.
NHS at 70: The Story of Our Lives is a Heritage Lottery Fund-supported project run through the University of Manchester, which is collecting a public archive of people’s memories and experiences of the NHS since its inception in 1948.
It sees volunteers recording (in audio) the stories of anyone who was treated by, worked in or shaped any area of the National Health Service since it launched – from porters to politicians, care assistants to consultants, resulting in a record of the unique place the NHS has played in everyday life since the Second World War.
These stories will be added to a digital archive, which will be available online and for future generations and will unlock the rich social history of the 70-year-old NHS, which has never been documented to this extent before.
The project launched last year with the 70th anniversary of the creation of the NHS in July 1948, but it is also the last opportunity to record some of the first patients and those who worked in the early days of the service – who are now in their eighties and nineties.
The first stage of the two-year programme, running until summer 2020, is under way now and focuses on four areas, one of which is the North East, with volunteers recording stories and memorabilia in the region until July.
The team would welcome hearing from anyone with a story to tell, however, particular groups they would like to target are – management, admin and clerical workers; cleaners, porters, drivers; carers of those with chronic conditions/disabilities and terminal illnesses; those working with women’s, LGBTQI+ and sexual health; those working with addiction and mental-health issues; Armed Forces veterans and those working with them; and community health workers.
To find out more, whether you’re interested in volunteering, sharing your story or helping someone to share theirs, visit the NHS at 70: The Story of Our Lives website at https://www.nhs70.org.uk/
You can also listen to all the NHS stories recorded so far on the website and find details of how to add yours.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service