Cheltenham Poetry Festival – reaching out to the entire community with the
Arts for All Outreach Programme
We are delighted to announce that Arts Council England are supporting our Arts For All Outreach Programme in 2018. Highlights are set to include a Mentoring Programme for a young writer with poet Christine Whittemore, poetry cinema workshops with Lee Chaos, storytelling workshops with Chloe The Midnight Story Teller, and visits by some exciting rising stars on the spoken word scene!
Thanks to Arts Council England’s continued support, Cheltenham Poetry Festival offers a comprehensive community programme every year. The Arts for All Outreach Programme means that many local schools and community groups can benefit from meeting, and working with, some of the UK’s most exciting spoken word artists.
John Hegley gives a craft and creative writing workshop at the 2017 Festival.
Performers such as John Hegley, the Beatfreeks, Lee Chaos, Heather Wastie, Angela France, Charles Lea, Al Hutchins, Little Machine, Gill Garrett, Spoz and Richard Dreadlock Alien have visited state schools and community groups to offer free workshops.
Charles Lea working with budding poets at Hester’s Way Library during the 2017 Festival.
Through Arts for All we reach out to groups that experience economic and physical barriers to cultural inclusion and encourage them to engage with literacy. We promote community cohesion and improve health and well-being with creative workshops/events. We specifically target the poorest wards in the county and address financial exclusion by offering free events and activities. Our workshops are designed to foster community pride, improve health and well-being and help our clients to engage with literacy and feel empowered through self expression.
The groups we work with include Community organisation P3 in Cheltenham – the centre offers support to adults with economic, physical and mental health-based barriers to creativity. Cheltenham P3 said of our workshops, ‘we have seen people flourish during these sessions and really gain in confidence’.
We have also offered creative writing workshops with vulnerable adults at The Independence Trust. The sessions encouraged adults with mental health vulnerabilities to use creative writing as a form of healing to address such problems as anxiety and depression. The benefits of our workshops include increased confidence, greater self expression, improvement in literacy as well as well as increased self knowledge.
We have also provided creative writing workshops for young child in areas of economic disadvantage with Charles Lea and Read Write Now. Other workshops have been provided for those who have English as a second language – such as refugees and asylum seekers tutored by Heather Wastie, pictured right.