Workhouse Connect at The Enniskillen Workhouse

Using money raised by National Lottery players, The National Heritage Lottery Fund supports projects that connect people and communities with the UK’s heritage. Workhouse Connect is made possible with The National Heritage Lottery Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to develop a project to teach heritage skills to students with additional needs who are studying at South West College’s Erne and Omagh campuses.

“Let a source of agreeable and productive labour, such as … gardens, be found for the inmates of our workhouses, and let efficient gardeners be set over them, and we have no doubt the poor in many parishes would nearly, or wholly support themselves.”

J. C. Loudon
Workhouse Gardens & Gardeners (1829)

Workhouse Gardens

Workhouse gardens rarely figure in the history of horticulture and their physical survival is rare. Workhouse Connect is going to fill that gap, in a very particular way with a very particular group of participants. The core group comprises students with special educational needs at SWC. Research shows that such students are strikingly absent from heritage skills projects in the UK and frequently marginalized within the heritage sector. They will be creating a small, walled kitchen garden. They’ll be building the wall, they’ll be learning heritage joinery and they’ll be planting heritage vegetables. While inmates of the Workhouse over the years may not always have found their labour “agreeable”, we hope our students will find it both educational and enjoyable!

Through these practical, “hands on” activities, students will really engage with the history of the Workhouse—doing what the inmates would have done through much of its existence—and they will leave a legacy that will be part of the future of the Enniskillen Workhouse. Our aim is that participants will gain a new sense of “ownership” and understanding that heritage belongs to everyone.

Sustainability will be at the heart of Workhouse Connect. Watch this space for updates on how we are reducing our carbon footprint and promoting biodiversity.

In addition to the Summer School and weekly classes through the Autumn Semester, there will also be several “taste and see” workshops for a group of students with additional needs from the Omagh campus, for parents and carers and for residents of the local Devenish community. In this way, a more diverse group of people will be involved in heritage and gain skills.

About The National Heritage Lottery Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the largest funder for the UK’s heritage. Using money raised by National Lottery players we support projects that connect people and communities to heritage. Our vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future. From historic buildings, our industrial legacy and the natural environment, to collections, traditions, stories and more. Heritage can be anything from the past that people value and want to pass on to future generations. We believe in the power of heritage to ignite the imagination, offer joy and inspiration, and to build pride in place and connection to the past.

Workhouse Connect

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