In the week leading up to this year’s National Writing Day on 24 June, we invited two former First Story students from West Yorkshire, Henna Ravjibhai (17) and Sophie Crabtree (19), to take over our Instagram account. We’re pleased to provide a platform for them to share their experiences as young writers — and hopefully inspire other young people to practice writing creatively too.
We’ve never done a social media takeover before, but we knew Henna and Sophie were a natural choice to approach because both young women showed so much talent and commitment when they participated in our Young Writers programme as students at Appleton Academy in Bradford. And since leaving school, both have maintained their support and connection to First Story via social media. They’re definitely both more tech savvy than us, too!
Our guest hosts kicked off the takeover week with a live Q&A session on Instagram TV, during which they had an honest and frank discussion about creativity and their experiences of working with First Story. They fielded questions from our followers about how to get involved in this year’s National Writing Day #247Challenge, about doing our Young Writers programme, and about tips and advice as writing practitioners.
It was an absolute treat to hear them talk so eloquently about the effect writing has had on their lives and how much they’ve benefitted from being part of the First Story community. Do take a moment to watch back their Q&A session – you won’t regret it!
We were very lucky to have First Story at such a young age, I think. Young writers need that support and First Story are brilliant at keeping that support, even after high school. Cos you think sometimes, ‘Oh, it will just end and that’s it’ — but it’s not! It’s just a really, really lovely community to be a part of.– Henna Ravjibhai
The two young writers are dedicated not only to their own creative practice, but to spreading the word about the joy that writing brings. They’re also passionate advocates for our work. Indeed, they first came to our attention as potential candidates to invite to do the takeover, because both were diligently writing along every day of our #WriteFromHome campaign, which we ran online during the first weeks of lockdown. Their creative work—plus their encouragement of other participants during the campaign—was exceptional.
I was supported by First Story for four years and I’ve been supporting them ever since. We are a big family. It sounds really cheesy but it could not be more true that they really inspired the person that I am today, so I’ll always keep in contact and want to give that to somebody else.– Sophie Crabtree
We’re really pleased to be able to offer a paid opportunity like this to our alumni, through which they can gain valuable experience, as they get more involved in our work. As we emerge into the post-lockdown world, where everyone expects more activities to take place online, this project opens up new and exciting possibilities for us to build on.
It’s also such a pleasure to create opportunities that connect young writers to each other and to like-minded peers across the country, as well as to professional authors. Although we can’t wait to get back into schools and work face to face, we’re grateful that lockdown pushed us toward new and innovative ways of working with and involving the young people we exist to serve.
Be sure to check out First Story’s Instagram on National Writing Day, Wednesday 24 June at 4pm, when Henna and Sophie will be live hosting the #247challenge!