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Lottery fund backs 24-hour black history channel

A PIONEERING project to document black and Asian history on a 24-hour online TV station has received a £77,400 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Croydon-based charity Black Minority Ethnic Television Film and Media (BMETVFM) was awarded the grant to launch Our Heritage TV.

The brainchild of BMETVFM’s president, Ewemade Orobator, the channel will use films, documents and even games to tell the story of black and Asian pioneers who made contributions to civil rights, education, entertainment, government, science and sports in the UK between 1950 and 2010.

Our Heritage TV is being supported by the Black Cultural Archives (BCA), which will help train members of the public to create their own online ‘exhibitions’ from any period of history for broadcast on the channel.

The project will begin during Black History Month in October and aims to have least 1,000 items of heritage available to view and interact with by October 2015.

Other organisations supporting the project include London Archives Centre, BBC History, the Black and Asian Studies Association, Google Cultural Institute and Audioboo.

Orobator said he hoped the channel, which will also be accessible through a mobile phone app, will become a key educational tool.

He added: “Black history has been betrayed over the years – either underrepresented, misrepresented or not represented at all.

“Our history is not being properly taught in schools and then only in October, and the contributions that black people have made to this country have always been unreported or distorted.”

The project, Orobator added, will create a “24-hour resource that the community has built up and that they can access and will highlight the proud contributions that blacks and Asians have made to this country.”

Sue Bowers, head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “This project will help to gather, record and broadcast a wide range of information covering black and Asian contributions to living in Britain over the past 60 years.”

Orobator added: “The Heritage Lottery Fund by backing Our Heritage TV has made a statement that it values the contribution that black and ethnic minority people have made to the great story of the United Kingdom.

“Our project allows us to share a snapshot of at times difficult but deep and enriching contribution (1950-2010) on a national and global stage. We look forward to the massive contribution ordinary people across London will play in building and sharing this heritage.”

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