Each July, a group of First Story participants who show great potential during the academic year are awarded fully-funded places to attend a week-long residential course at Arvon’s idyllic Lumb Bank writing centre in rural West Yorkshire.
The residential is an incredibly valuable opportunity for aspiring young writers to develop their confidence, creativity and ability. They will work intensively with professional practitioners, alongside a supportive group of like-minded peers, in a peaceful and inspiring natural environment. It’s a space where new friendships are forged, and attending can be a life-altering experience.
What to expect
Residential week, from Monday to Friday, is a supervised programme of teaching and learning activities, including group workshops and one-to-one tutorials. It’s led by our most experienced writers, supported by First Story staff acting in loco parentis. Alongside lots of writing, there are social activities too, and the group is encouraged to cook and eat together. Time away from social media and mobile phones is also encouraged.
The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank, is located two miles from Hebden Bridge in rural West Yorkshire. An 18th-century mill owner’s house that once belonged to Ted Hughes, Lumb Bank stands in 20 acres of steep woodland overlooking a beautiful Pennine valley landscape. With 15 single bedrooms, Lumb Bank offers many quiet places to write around the house and garden, as well as a well-stocked library. There is also a small vegetable patch and an apple orchard onsite.
The residential experience builds young people’s confidence, social skills, independence and resilience. As young writers, participants learn new skills and techniques, with plenty of opportunities through the day to focus on their writing practice. Supported by one-to-one tutorials, they work on developing a piece to perform in a group showcase on the final evening. The group’s favourite writing produced during the week is later published in a printed anthology.
In spring term, each First Story participating school is invited to nominate Young Writers Programme participants for the residential. Nominated students are asked to submit responses to three short questions:
1) Include a short extract of your own writing (max. 100 words)
2) Explain why you are proud of the piece of writing and what it means to you (max. 150 words)
3) Explain why you would like to attend the residential and what you hope to gain from the experience (max. 150 words)
Sixteen students are selected and awarded a fully-funded place, including travel, accommodation and food.