Ministers Catherine Martin and Roderic O’Gorman approve €250,000 to extend the impact of the Fighting Words Story Seeds programme to 14,000 children and young people
An additional €250,000 will be provided by the Creative Ireland Programme of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and the What Works initiative, supported by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and funded under Dormant Accounts; to extend the Story Seeds programme of creative writing activity.
The Fighting Words Story Seeds programme is designed to help young people to articulate their own life stories so that they can understand their own experiences and their place in the world. Through creative writing Story Seeds strengthens positivity in children and helps them to reimagine the negatives in their lives and transform their sense of place and possibility.
Fighting Words Story Seeds initiative has been running in 22 primary schools in Dublin’s north inner city and north city during 2021, and will now extend to secondary schools and youth groups in the area.
This new funding will also enable Fighting Words to greatly expand the programme and bring the Story Seeds project to 14,000 children and young people in 120 primary schools, 70 secondary schools and 30 youth and additional needs groups in Dublin west, Dublin south inner city, Cork city, Limerick city, Bray/Wicklow and Drogheda.
Fighting Words will be linking with those organisations working in the areas of disadvantage, social marginalisation, mental health, disability, ethnic minorities and refugees/migrants. Fighting Words will also liaise with Tusla, the Children and Young People Service Committees (CYPSCs), and with Garda Community officers to ensure they are connecting with as many youth organisations as possible in each region.
“I loved reading the work the Story Seeds project produced in Dublin’s north inner city, and I’m really looking forward to what gets written by children and young people in other parts of the country when they start making Story Seeds their own.”
Roddy Doyle, Fighting Words.
Minister of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD said
“The expansion of this creative writing programme for schools around the country is a fantastic development which I am delighted to announce. Now, thousands more children will have access to this scheme. Through Creative Ireland, the wonderful Story Seeds programme is designed and delivered by Fighting Words and will support groups working in areas of disadvantage and with minorities. The success of this collaboration to date demonstrates how creative writing can build confidence and provide meaning and I am thrilled to extend this life-enhancing programme to more young people.”
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman TD added
“I am delighted to champion the expansion of this fantastic programme to address the needs of children and young people, particularly in areas of disadvantage. Fighting Words should be rightly proud of this innovative service, which delivers a programme addressing the needs of vulnerable children and young people in a way which is engaging, productive and fun for the participants. Fighting Words is a stellar example of how prevention and early intervention can work in practice to deliver better outcomes for marginalised children and young people.”
The Director of Fighting Words, Sean Love said
“Story Seeds has been one of the most successful programmes we have run, the engagement and the creativity of the children has been inspirational. Fighting Words is delighted to have this opportunity to greatly expand the programme around the country and reach thousands more children and young people in some of the most disadvantaged regions.”
The Creative Ireland Programme 2017-2022 is a five-year all-of-government, culture-based initiative under the aegis of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media that emphasises the importance of human creativity for individual, community and national wellbeing. The programme is grounded in the belief that every person has creative capacities, the development of which contributes to their personal wellbeing as well as to the general wellbeing of our communities and society.
The What Works Initiative is an initiative designed by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and funded under Dormant Accounts, which aims to maximise the impact of prevention and early intervention to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families.
Fighting Words provides free tutoring and mentoring in creative writing and related arts to as many children, young adults and adults with special needs as they can reach. Their programmes and workshops are delivered mainly by volunteer writing tutors. Their aim is to help children and young people, and adults who did not have this opportunity as children, to discover and harness the power of their own imaginations and creative writing skills. At its core, Fighting Words is also about something much broader and more inclusive. It is about using the creative practice of writing and storytelling to strengthen our children and teenagers – from a wide range of backgrounds – to be resilient, creative and successful shapers of their own lives.
Story Seeds project began in January 2021, when Sgt Aoife Reilly of the Mountjoy Garda Community Engagement Unit approached Fighting Words with the idea of collaborating on a creative project for primary school students on the northside of Dublin.
Following meetings with Fighting Words staff, the Story Seeds project was born. The purpose was to encourage young people to celebrate the areas where they live, work and play. Six Story Seeds stories were written between March and May 2021 at online workshops with the participating schools and teams of volunteer mentors and illustrators from Fighting Words. The stories were full of action and featured a huge range of inventive characters in adventures from Croke Park to Dublin Zoo, from The Garden of Remembrance to Johnny Cullen’s Hill, from Griffith Park to the GPO and everywhere in between.