Lewisham Young Writers is a brand new programme formed in collaboration between Spread the Word and Lewisham’s youth service provider Youth First, and launched by the Young People’s Laureate for London, Theresa Lola, as part of her #SayYourPeace campaign.
Covid-19 has had a direct impact on the mental health and well being of young people nationwide. In Lewisham, Youth First youth workers reported that 3000 of the most in-need young people in the borough who they are in direct contact with are feeling very isolated, restless and anxious. Further, YoungMinds found that 80% of young people with a history of mental ill-health have found their conditions have worsened since the coronavirus crisis began in the UK.
Lewisham Young Writers seeks to respond to this crisis by offering young people an outlet, and providing connections to other young people facing similar circumstances. This free summer creative writing programme is for young people aged 8-19 years old in Lewisham, providing them with poetry and creative writing activities over the summer.
Launching on 10 August, the programme will distribute 1000 creative care packages to Lewisham’s young people, consisting of sports equipment, writing and art materials, and a mental health support leaflet. 300 children will also receive a copy of Sharna Jackson’s novel High Rise Mystery.
The project will also offer online creative challenges and six free online creative workshops for Lewisham’s young people led by Theresa Lola, Sharna Jackson and Olivia Twist. Each workshop will run for 1.5 hours and be BSL-interpreted by Amy Hayward and Akbar Sikder. The dates for the workshops are listed below:
Thursday 13 August (4:15pm): Illustration workshop 1 with Olivia Twist
Friday 14 August (4:15pm): Illustration workshop 2 with Olivia Twist
Thursday 20 August (5:15pm): Fiction/story writing 1 with Sharna Jackson
Friday 21 August (4:15pm): Fiction/story writing 2 with Sharna Jackson
Thursday 26 August (5:15pm): Poetry workshop 1 with Theresa Lola
Friday 27 August (5:15pm): Poetry workshop 2 with Theresa Lola
Participants will be offered a creative activity booklet to continue their writing and artwork beyond the end of the project.