Working with three local primary schools to encourage ten year-olds to appreciate and write their own poetry has been something that Headingley LitFest has been working on since our main programme in March 2013. Using the skills of acclaimed local writer James Nash, and working with some friends from Older Wiser Local Seniors (OWLS), James has worked in Weetwood, Shire Oak and Spring Bank schools over the past few months.
Using a range of stimulus material, he has managed to get around 100 local youngsters to find their inner poet. As one young girl from Weetwood said, “They were fabulous sessions, and I enjoyed every second! And a young lad also commented, “I particularly liked the way we got inspiration from the book and the two pictures. I think that the event would be better if it was longer but the rest was brilliant!
James himself comments, “Working at Shire Oak school, and writing poetry based on sporting and physical activity, showed me that with the great support of staff and OWLS, and fitting into current curriculum projects of a school, we can enhance the writing abilities of all pupils and make writing relevant and fun for everybody.”
After funding from the Arts Council enabled us to develop our poetry work with local primary schools, it is now thanks to support from local councillors through the Area Management committee, Leeds City Council community funding and Wade’s charity, we have funding to be able to continue this work over the coming months and beyond our 2014 LitFest, themed ‘Surviving’. Watch this space.