IT is “back to the future” for schoolchildren in Horwich who are exploring the town’s past to understand it today.

Pupils are becoming The LocoMotiv8tors in an innovative year-long project with the Horwich Heritage Centre.

The young historians will be delving into Horwich’s past to raise standards in the classroom.

They will be examining artefacts, enjoying a ride on a steam train and taking part in activities designed to bring learning to life in subjects from history to science.

The LocoMotiv8tors project being co-ordinated by Bolton Playing For Success, an organisation linked to Bolton Wanderers.

Horwich Heritage Centre has received £100,000 from the National Lottery’s Awards for All programme to fund the 12-month project, which was launched this week by Whites mascot Lofty the Lion.

Stuart Whittle, chairman of the Horwich Heritage Centre, said: “The centre is very supportive of education and provides a resource for schools. We can put on exhibitions and displays in response to what schools want. This is the biggest project we have done and it will involve all the local primary schools in Horwich.”

He added: “The centre is like a living museum and children can come and see what life was like in the Second World War to life in Victorian times. It is designed to be a hands-on experience.”

Neil West, Playing for Success’ assistant manager, added: “The inspiration for the LocoMotiv8tors’ project comes from the Horwich Loco Works, which is the reason the town exists today.

“The children will become time travellers and be encouraged to develop their own artwork, literature and photography which will be exhibited at the heritage centre at the end of their project.”

More than 200 youngsters aged eight to 14, representing all the local schools, together with their families — to promote family learning which helps to raise educational achievement — will take part in the project.

Youngsters will have a chance to ride on a steam train and take part in other activities to complement a whole host of lessons, including science, arts and crafts, design technology and multi-media information technology.

Some young people will be helped to develop leadership skills to lead after-school clubs and even volunteer at the centre to ensure the project has a legacy.

Youngsters at Lord Street School were at the launch and said they were looking forward to understanding more about their town. The project coincides with the school’s centenary year.

Ruby Williams, aged 10, said: “Visiting Horwich Heritage Centre is like going back in time.

William Pearcy, aged nine, added: “I think the centre is very interesting. I would bring my family here.”

Ishmayeel Abdulla, aged 10, said: “We have studied the Victorians and I have enjoyed looking at the Victorian Kitchen in the heritage centre.”

Emily Greenhalgh, aged nine, added: “I am looking forward to finding out more about Horwich, it is an exciting and interesting project.”