40 Years of Community Activism in Midlothian

Midlothian Voluntary Action was one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage1 grant. This exciting project, “A History of Community Activism and Voluntary Action in Midlothian” was given £8800 to research the rich history of local people working together to support each other and their communities. The project will result in an exhibition featuring a piece of artwork made by local volunteers working with a local artist.  This project was chosen to mark the 40th anniversary of Midlothian Voluntary Action.

Sharing Heritage is a new funding programme to help people across the UK explore, conserve and share all aspects of the history and character of their local area.

MVA has been working with local organisations and involving volunteers in a number of roles. The finished artwork and subsequent media will then eventually be permanently displayed at the new Dalkeith Corn Exchange Museum.

Colin McLean head of Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland said: “Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that Midlothian Voluntary Action can embark on a real journey of discovery. Heritage means such different things to different people, and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in their area.”

The four themes we wanted to explore were:

  1. Community activism stimulated by local industries;
  2. Self-help:  communities meeting local needs through collective action;
  3. The role of women in community activism;
  4. Making their voices heard:  how communities have worked with statutory agencies over the years.

This website will showcase the results of our research, and how the artwork was made.


Funding for this project was provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It is proposed that when the project is complete, all the materials are donated to the new Dalkeith Museum located in the Corn

Heritage Lottery Funded