As Birmingham Friends of the Earth celebrates 40 years at The Warehouse it has been successful in securing a £10 000 Sharing Heritage grant from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Through a mix of oral history recording and archival research, project volunteers will uncover the early history of the organisation and its contribution to the environmental movement together with its impact on the people of Birmingham.

Project volunteers will seek out some of the early activists and employees to learn about their role in the heritage of Birmingham’s environmental movement. Use will also be made of the existing archives of BFoE which are safely housed at the Library of Birmingham, and it is hoped that additional early material will be located to add the archive. Volunteers will receive training in archive research skills, oral history recording, film-making and presentation skills.

The project will be co-ordinated by Liz Palmer, a local heritage genealogist and researcher, who worked for Friends in the Earth in the mid-1980s selling recycled paper. She will be assisted by Rachel Gillies, a fellow member of the Peoples’ Heritage Co-operative and community filmmaker and they will be supported by a steering group from BFoE including John Newson, Chris Crean and Bernard Parry.

So how can you help?

Volunteer: We are looking for volunteers to join the project to research the existing archives, undertake oral/video recordings and compile and disseminate the findings via social media, a print publication and an exhibition. Specific skills aren’t necessary as you would receive appropriate training.

Donate material

Do you have photographs of BFoE activities particularly linked to campaigning? Or early campaign materials? Or any minutes of meetings from the 1970s? If so please let us know – if you don’t wish to donate it to the project (for eventual deposit in Library of Birmingham Archives) we could arrange to scan material.

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By Liz Palmer