Prevented by the pandemic from taking this year’s group of veterans and serving military personnel on the summer battlefield excavation in Belgium, Waterloo Uncovered is launching an ambitious virtual programme to reach out to people with online talks, activities and wellbeing support.
Mark Evans, CEO of Waterloo Uncovered says:
“This is about turning a challenge into an opportunity. Our mission is to help people with Recovery, Wellbeing, Transition to Civilian life, Education and Employment; the programme will enable us to carry on with this work remotely while at the same time helping to bring history to life for a wider audience.”Mark Evans
A group of 25 Veterans and Serving Personnel from the UK, the Netherlands and the USA will work through a three-month programme including: a basic introduction to archaeology, new insights into the story of the battle from leading historians, quizzes and educational activities, culminating in a Test Pit challenge where some participants will be excavating in their back gardens! Many of the people taking part in the programme have physical or mental injuries from their service; they will be helped to deal with some of the issues of social isolation with help throughout the programme from Waterloo Uncovered’s specialist Wellbeing and Support Team.
The programme will take place in a secure online environment and much of the content will then be made available to the public via Waterloo Uncovered’s own website.
Backing for the initiative came from the Chair of COBSEO, the Confederation of Service Charities, General Sir John McColl:
“At a time when we’ve marked an important anniversary, with VE Day, of an eventual triumph over adversity, it’s important too to take note of how people and organisations are responding to the challenges of the coronavirus crisis by finding innovative ways to keep people connected and supported. Undaunted, Waterloo Uncovered have devised a rich virtual programme of activities to keep beneficiaries with a range of needs, engaged and supported through a difficult time, giving them an opportunity to learn and building a sense of community.”General Sir John McColl
Archaeologist Phi Harding, well-known from his appearances on TV’s Time Team, is a leading volunteer with Waterloo Uncovered and had this to say:
“We’re all part of this together. I’m bitterly disappointed that we won’t be going back this year, but do not despair. The archaeology’s not going anywhere! In the meantime, Waterloo Uncovered has put together some great material for participants and for the public, including some of my personal archaeological highlights – from the Neolithic to the Napoleonic!”Phil Harding