Young writers who complete our flagship programme constantly tell us that they enjoyed it so much, they just want to keep going. We are keen to develop new pathways for our alumni to continue creative writing journeys. So we have created an exciting new progression opportunity for our alumni, the First Story Young Ambassadors programme. We launched it on National Poetry Day with a series of specially commissioned poems.
Young Ambassadors is a supported volunteering opportunity for First Story alumni who are committed and want to continue engaging with creative writing. The year-long programme will put young people at the heart of promoting creative writing within their schools and local communities.
First Story’s Young Ambassadors will play a key role – with our help and support – in fostering and nurturing a positive culture of creative writing, initiating new opportunities for their peers and teachers to write creatively and celebrate writing throughout the year.
They might work with us to shape our regular Connect events, or even co-produce events to celebrate National Writing Day in their school. They could lead assemblies, talking to students and parents about the benefits of creative writing. They might mentor new students who take up First Story’s Young Writers Programme in subsequent years, and could even be assigned a specific role by our Writer-in-Residence. With our help, they could start their own literary magazines, showcasing their creativity, talent, ideas and passions. They might even lead CPD sessions in their schools, sharing some of their favourite creative writing exercises with school staff and informing teaching practice.
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: they really inspired the person that I am today.”Sophie, First Story alumna, Bradford
We intend that this opportunity will help our Young Ambassadors develop leadership, mentoring and project management skills — incredibly valuable transferable skills sought by the employers of the future. Being a Young Ambassador should add to their CVs and personal statements, helping our alumni stand out from the crowd when they go on to apply for further education and employment opportunities. We also aim to give them a platform, both within their schools and in the world, to showcase their potential and celebrate their achievements.
As part of a three-year project funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, during 2020/21 we’ll be piloting this new strand of our work with eight partner schools across the East Midlands and the North of England. We plan to extend the opportunity in the following academic year to First Story participants in all of our partner schools nationally.
Participating schools in 2020/21 are: Appleton Academy and Coop Academy Grange, both in Bradford; Farnborough Academy in Nottingham; Hull Trinity House Academy; Judgemeadow Community College in Leicester; Landau Forte College in Derby; Witham—a Priory Academy in Lincoln; and Haven High Academy in Boston, Lincolnshire.
We’ve officially launched the First Story Young Ambassadors programme with a series of specially commissioned poems, written by our pilot year cohort to celebrate National Poetry Day.