A publisher and two authors have announced the Connecting Stories campaign to support children’s literacy in the Swindon area.
Led by Swindon Stories from the National Literacy Trust and funded by Arts Council England, it will increase children and young people’s access to literary experiences and books.
Authors Steve Antony and Simon Farnaby will be championing reading and creative writing in the Swindon community, through activities such as virtual school visits.
To further inspire the next generation of readers and writers, publisher Hachette UK will donate books to the Swindon area.
Children and young people age 7 to 14 will be invited to take part in a creative writing competition, and entries will be displayed as part of one of 19 Connecting Stories anthologies and displayed in various cultural locations.
Steve Antony said: “As an Ambassador for Swindon Stories for a number of years I am delighted to be involved in this exciting new project.
"I can’t wait to bring the magic of stories to children in my community. Together we will explore the powerful realms of imagination, finding some much needed escapism along the way!”
Fellow author Simon Farnaby said: “I am delighted to be part of Connecting Stories with the National Literacy Trust and Swindon Stories. With the literacy attainment gap growing ever wider during these difficult times, it’s more important than ever that we nurture imagination and help children realise their potential.
"I can’t wait to share my own love of reading with the children of Swindon.”
Anish Harrison, Hubs Manager for Swindon Stories, said: “Connecting Stories is a brilliant approach to supporting literacy in Swindon during the third lockdown and beyond.
"The initiative will support wellbeing and inspire a sense of community, whilst also developing literacy skills.
"I look forward to seeing some of the creative writing entries, and to supporting the campaign in the Swindon Hub.”
Sarah Crown is Director of Literature at Arts Council England, added: “Connecting Stories is a brilliant, creative way of supporting children’s literacy in communities suffering disproportionately from the impact of covid-19.
"The commitment of publishers big and small to helping children and young people connect with stories and the authors is hugely exciting, and will offer inspiration to children and families around the country, as well as a means of celebrating the unique communities and resources in local areas.
“Arts Council England is proud to support this work, and excited by the opportunities it offers, both now and in the future.”
Connecting Stories will be delivered across 14 local areas, and a total of 18 publishers and 32 children’s authors are involved.
More information can be found at https://literacytrust.org.uk/communities/connecting-stories/