Hearts for the Arts Shortlist: Blackpool Council, Wordpool

Shortlisted in the inaugural National Campaign for the Arts/What Next? Hearts for the Arts Awards 2017 for Best Local Authority Arts Initiative.

Wordpool is Blackpool Arts and Library Service’s annual Festival of Words, an initiative that has had a considerable impact on school and family engagement with the cultural offer in Blackpool.

At the heart of the festival offer is their work with children, young people and their families, which in 2016 included an extensive schools’ programme culminating in Wordpool’s Big Friendly Family Day, and their first Young Adult Fiction Festival called Timehop.

Over 3,200 children from twelve local Primary and Special schools took part in the schools’ programme, then over 3,500 children and adults enjoyed twenty-one storytelling activities at the Big Friendly Family Day. The Arts and Library Service worked with fourteen local partners to design and deliver the event, and they were supported by over eighty volunteers.

TimeHop, their first Young Adult Fiction Festival, featured six well known authors of Young Adult Fiction, including Carnegie Award Winner Sally Gardner. The event involved two hundred Year 8 students and featured breakout sessions, workshops, author discussions, performances and panel discussion.  There was also an extended offer for thirty pupils from each school to take part in the TIMEHOP Bronze Arts Award Project.

Postcode registration from the Family Day showed that families came to the event from all over Blackpool and beyond, including many families from some of Blackpool’s most deprived wards.

What the judges had to say:

Samuel West, actor and director: “Such energy and inventiveness; encouraging young people’s creative writing is an investment for the future”