16th Jun 2021

Photo: The LV50, moored at the South Harbour in Blyth.

An innovative project making a local historic ship accessible online, has won a significant national award thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation.

Friends of LV50 received a grant from the EDF Energy Blyth Offshore Demonstrator Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund, to develop their virtual tour of the ship and making it suitable as an educational resource, so that it could be explored and enjoyed virtually by young people during the pandemic. In recognition of their achievement, Friends of LV50 received the National Historic Ships UK ‘Virtual Flagship of the Year Award’.

LV50 – short for Light Vessel – is a rare Victorian wooden lightship, one of only three in existence and the only one open to the public. It was constructed in 1879 and has been moored in Blyth Harbour since 1952. The ship was one of 200 vessels that comprised the National Historic Fleet and played a “historic role” in D-Day.

The Friends devised the tour with the support of local education associations, including the Port of Blyth STEM Hub and the Blyth Schools Partnership, to help create a tour that is accessible for school children.

Ross Wilson, Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation said:

“The organisation had a well-planned strategy to develop the profile of the LV50. They have used engaging, accessible media, which will make LV50 available for local schools and their pupils, as well as making the experience accessible to a wider audience.

“I am delighted to see that their hard work and innovation has been recognised with this national award”.

The National Historic Ships UK award was given in ‘recognition of your creativity and resilience in promoting continued online engagement with the vessel during the Covid’19 lockdown’.

Speaking about their Award, Lester Sher, Chair of the Friends of LV50 said:

“The grant has enabled the separate strands of this project to be brought together to deliver, particularly for first schools a suite of curriculum-based resources that substantially enhances the opportunities for children to experience, understand and learn from a “visit” to this unique Historic Ship. The completed project represents a huge repository of information available not just to local people but anyone anywhere with internet access.

LV50’s unique history has been used to inspire learning in young people across North of Tyne and particularly South East Northumberland. This new development ensures that its impact and legacy is felt well beyond those borders.

For more information about funding opportunities at the Community Foundation visit www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply 

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