Young people in New Milton are set to preserve the heritage of their home town in the most modern of ways – by using Minecraft.
Fifteen youngsters from The Arnewood School are carefully crafting the town’s post World War II history by re-creating streets and buildings using the popular computer game and app.
Now young people throughout the town are invited to get involved in the Block 2 Block project, which has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and supported by Hampshire Cultural Trust and Forest Arts Centre.
In the May half term holiday, the Block 2 Block project is running two one-day workshops at the skate park and Memorial Hall, on May 30 and 31, for young people aged 11-18.
The 12-week project started in April and will be completed in July.
So far the Arnewood students have interviewed the Mayor of New Milton, David Rice-Mundy, and the school’s Chair of Governors, Elizabeth Cook to gain their knowledge and memories of New Milton.
They also went on a research trip to St Barbe Museum in Lymington and the Red House Museum in Christchurch to research the history of the town.
Headteacher, Nigel Pressnell, said: “This is an amazing opportunity for our students and is a very exciting project for them to be part of.
“Not only are they learning so much about their home town but they are also finding out more about computer techniques.
“We can’t wait to see New Milton’s history brought back to life.”
Now in weekly workshops the young Bill Gates are recreating the town and learning filming techniques so they can re-enact some of the stories they have heard and insert videos they have recorded.
These film clips will be accompanied with original music from the Coda Music Trust and an audio postcard created by a group from Young Carers.
The students’ innovative work has so impressed bosses at software giant Microsoft that the teenagers have been invited to share their plans and learn more about Minecraft at its London HQ.
Jackie Goddard, community programme co-ordinator for Hampshire Cultural Trust, said: “Forest Arts is really proud to be part of this innovative project.
“By using Minecraft as the platform for this contemporary museum, the young people of New Milton are engaging with history and the arts in an exciting and creative way.”
Jackie is forming a youth theatre group to perform a story from New Milton’s history as part of a special celebration event on July 14 at the Forest Arts Centre to launch the online museum. Rehearsals start Tuesday June 5 – any young person who would like to take part can call 01425 612393 for more information.
And young people who would like to book a place on the half term Block 2 Block workshops can do so by going to www.hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/forest-arts-centre
Note to editors: For more information please contact Rachel Read on 0202 534487.