15. December 2021

Continued support to creative writing for young people in North East England

Kavli Trust awards New Writing North a grant of 360 000 euro to continue to run targeted creative writing activities for young people in Newcastle in the North East England.

Top photo: Pete Huggins

The new grant will be funding an ambitious three-year programme which will offer a broad range of activities, including poetry, rap, songwriting, theatre, filmmaking and podcasting. 

Since 2018, funding from Kavli Trust has enabled New Writing North to develop and introduce their Young Writers programme to key schools in Gateshead. 

“The new agreement means that New Writing North can continue to build trust and develop confidence amongst young people from some of the most disadvantaged areas in Gateshead, and expand our work to Newcastle,” said Anna Disley, executive director at New Writing North. 

Wide range of opportunities

Some of the neighbourhoods in Gateshead and Newcastle are among the most deprived areas in the country. Here many children and young people do not have access to participation in activities where they can explore and develop their creative talents. 

New Writing North’s programmes are designed for long term relationship-building between participants and with programme staff, providing young people with a wide range of opportunities to express themselves creatively. 

POETRY DANCE: Some of the participants who made the poetry dance film I Welcome the Hurdles. Watch the film at the end of the article! Photo: Pete Huggins

Strengthening mental health

The overall goal is to improve and strengthen mental health and build resilience in children through writing and other creative activities in a safe space. 

Participants will be introduced to creative writing through sessions in their school or in their communities supported by a trusted team of freelance professional writers and artists, with the programme producer a consistent pastoral figure.

“We will support them to pursue their own journey through creative writing and self-expression, whether as a future career, as an everyday creative, as a cultural leader in their community, or because engaging in culture makes them feel happier. Our relational approach means we can respond to their individual needs, drivers and ambitions, and support them to develop their own cultural life, one in which they can thrive,” says Anna Disley. 

A human-centred approach

“We take a human-centred approach to the work, helping each young person to discover their creative interest and confidence, to address their barriers, practical and emotional, and to respond to their needs and drivers,” says Disley.

Following an intensive introduction, those that are interested will have the opportunity to continue to engage with ongoing creative writing programmes after school and in the community.

REFLECTING ON LOCKDOWN: The poetry dance film I Welcome the Hurdles is made by the Young Writers programme in partnership with Gateway Studio, reflecting on the young people’s experience of lockdown. Scroll down and watch the film in the end of the article! Photo: Pete Huggins

Writing about their own experiences

“We encourage participants to write about their own experiences, helping them to see that cultural creation is not about other people or places. We will ensure that the work is celebrated through the creation of creative outputs including animations, films, zines, anthologies, et cetera,” she says.

“In this way, with our pastoral approach we can introduce young people to new cultural experiences, to career options they hadn’t considered in the arts. We can also facilitate any leadership ambitions they may have in creating their own cultural projects within their own communities.”  

IN SCHOOL: New Writing North’s theatre maker Ruth Johnson working with students in Larkspur Primary School Gateshead. Photo: New Writing North

Young people in care

With the new grant agreement with Kavli Trust, New Writing North will also be developing programmes for young people in care and with specific community organisations in areas close to their partner schools.

“We are very pleased to continue the good cooperation with New Writing North,” says General Manager at Kavli Trust, Inger Elise Iversen. 

“Kavli Trust visited Gateshead in 2020, before the pandemic, and we had the pleasure to experience the performances of many of the young artists who participated in the programme at that time. We were impressed and thrilled to watch their talents unfold on stage, but even more importantly, observing their joy, togetherness and self-confidence made a strong impression. That was very moving. Now we look forward to following more young people on their journey through the renewed partnership with New Writing North,” she says.  

Watch “I Welcome the Hurdles” here

The poetry dance film I Welcome the Hurdles is made by the Young Writer programme in partnership with Gateway Studio, reflecting on the young people’s experience of lockdown.






YOUNG WRITER DANCING:  Young Writers programme combines creative writing with other art forms. Photo: Pete Huggins.