A new multicultural history project in Honiton is looking for new volunteers.  

Devon Development Education (DDE), a global learning charity, wants people to get involved in touch to take part in 'The Telling our Stories, Finding Our Roots' - this involves looking into new, previously hidden archive and contemporary stories in the two towns revealing Devon’s long multicultural history, a history that’s currently not commonly known but indicators show it to be there.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Jess Huffman have been appointed as the community heritage coordinators in each town to lead volunteers in collecting oral history stories from people from ethnically diverse backgrounds and to research archives to uncover multi-cultural stories.

Volunteers will be given high-quality training in how to do this. The project is seeking volunteers from all backgrounds but particularly those from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

Hilda Kalap, the Project Coordinator, says: “The common view is that Devon’s population has always been white, Anglo-Saxon and monocultural. However more evidence has and continues to emerge - particularly following two similar projects we undertook - that the real history is quite different. In fact Devon has a long multicultural history that’s not commonly known about. We’re slowly but surely changing widely-held perceptions and understanding with our work.”

“Volunteering on this project is a chance to be a part of the story, gain new skills that could lead to a career, meet like-minded people, make new friends and create a more inclusive society for future generations.”

The project is much needed, especially at this time, when not only are the stories of ethnically diverse people at risk of being lost because they are not being recorded and saved but also because negative portrayals of asylum seekers and refugees has created a more challenging environment for those from multi-cultural backgrounds.

Volunteers will be supported to collect at least six oral histories and memory pieces on particular themes. Archives research will aim to uncover at least five local histories relating to multicultural diversity.

The project which started in June 2023, will take 18 months to complete, finishing at the end of 2024. Those interested in volunteering should contact dde@globalcentredevon.org.uk