FIVE dynamic students from Whitecross School in Hereford have been successful in their bid for a £47,600 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant following two years research and planning.

"I can't believe we've actually got the money!" said Zuzia, 15, who came up with the original idea for the project called 'Shared Freedom - Shared Future'. "I really wanted to educate people about the history and how we were all linked together in some way. It just really annoys me how people are judged and discriminated against around the whole world...about where they come from and what they look like," she said.

The money will be spent on making a short dual-language film and an accompanying exhibition which aims to educate school children and their parents about the contribution of the Polish during WW2.

The students, part of Whitecross School's 10% English as an Additional Language (EAL) cohort, were led by teacher and project co-ordinator, Katie Horne.

"We're going to do as much research as we can about the involvement of the Polish people in World War 2, particularly the Polish that have settled in our area and there is quite a large population of Polish people who have settled here after the war," Katie said. "We decided that we wanted to make some films out of whatever we researched and we're hoping that they will inspire other young people in the schools we're going to go out, that they'll stop and think - 'I could be like that too'".

Hereford based arts organisation and project partner, Rural Media assisted with the short film that the students made as part of their HLF bid. Further research will involve the stories of Polish residents and their descendants in Hereford who arrived here during the war and the funding covers digitalisation of new material.

An education pack will be produced in tandem with the film which will be shown alongside the exhibition during July at the Courtyard in Hereford with the plan to reach 3,000 young people in schools and colleges across the county. It will then go on tour.

Local historian Bill Laws said: "This is a well-deserved and welcome award for a very timely project. The historic role Polish people have played in the recent social history of Herefordshire needs to be recognised and celebrated."

If you would like to follow the project or have relevant original material or expertise to offer, please visit the Shared Freedom - Shared Future Facebook page or the school.

The project is being match-funded by the William A Cadbury Trust and the Polish Air Force Association with Whitecross PTFA and the pupils having to raise £1000. Visit