Eyes On, Hands On: What? Why? Where? When?


Generously sponsored by Annington Homes, Eyes On, Hands On is one of our cornerstone volunteer programmes. Get to know it a bit better and perhaps see how you can get involved.

Volunteer with the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation with Eyes On, Hands On

What is Eyes On, Hands On?

Eyes On, Hands On (EOHO) is a volunteer project suitable for history lovers of all ages.

It’s a chance for those with an interest in history to help us in our commemoration work and help connect with their local heritage.

We ask volunteers to be our eyes on the ground, helping to monitor and look after graves close to where they live.

An Eyes On, Hands On volunteer scrubs a headstone.Once signed up, EOHO project members are trained in how to identify isolated headstones and burials, how to undertake inspections, and how to care for each war grave.

Our local volunteers then become the Commission and Foundation’s eyes on the ground. The information they pass on allows us to better allocate our resources. The CWGC’s professional facilities teams can be better directed, and we can act fast if any issues are found with our sites.

Why did we establish Eyes On, Hands On?

The Commission’s work in Belgium and France is well known – but did you know that there are over 160,000 headstones we look after in the UK? That includes major cemeteries at locations like Brookwood in Surrey and Stonefall in Harrogate, but many UK sites are scattered all over the country.

Most of our UK headstones sit in churchyards or non-military cemeteries, sometimes solo or often in pairs. Their scattered or isolated locations make maintaining them a challenge.

This is where our amazing EOHO volunteers come in.

As of the end of March 2022, we have assigned 80% of our United Kingdom sites to volunteers. More than 94,000 headstones have been inspected. Almost 14,000 have been cleaned or restored, all thanks to the sterling work of over 1,850 EOHO volunteers.

A group of Eyes On, Hands On volunteers.As well as the practical reasons behind Eyes On, Hands On, the project also helps our volunteers and history lovers discover new stories right on their doorstep.

We’re blessed with having history on seemingly every street in the United Kingdom. Much of our shared heritage is connected to the World Wars. Every neighbourhood would have been affected with families across the country losing loved ones. These are the men and women we commemorate to this day.

The stories of those we commemorate, whether in singular burials or on the walls of major memorials, are waiting to be told. Through Eyes On, Hands On, we’re encouraging people to get out there, discover nearby casualties, research them, and share what they’ve learned.

With EOHO we’re fulfilling our core mission: keeping the memories of the Commonwealth’s war dead alive.

Get involved in this project

Want to become an Eyes On, Hands On volunteer? Great! Head on over to the CWGC’s volunteer page and make an application.

Please note: because of the brilliant historic response to EOHO, the team is only recruiting in some specific areas and towns. Please do still enquire to find out which areas we’re recruiting in or to find more ways you can volunteer with us.

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