June Newsletter

June 2021 Newsletter

Dear friends,

Hooray, summer has finally arrived!  After the deluge that May brought, how lovely is it to enjoy the great outdoors again?  23rd June is National Writing Day run by First Story. To link in with this the National Literacy Trust has just released new research on the power of writing to enhance wellbeing in children particularly through lockdown, addressing the isolation many have felt.  While we intuitively know this as we see the joy it brings to our children and young people on a daily basis, it’s still affirming to know that 41.3% of children said that writing makes them feel better, that 24.8% said writing helps when they feel sad and can’t see friends and family and that more children are turning to writing with an increase from 35.8% to 39.8% over the last year.

This year, National Writing Day celebrates the theme of connection and their #FilltheBox challenge invites you to fill a virtual box, be it a twitter post or a post-it-note, with a 280 character story, letter or poem.  So, while it’s been a comfort to turn to writing during lockdown and the gloom of winter, let’s celebrate the sunshine and opportunity to gather again (albeit cautiously!) as inspiration to keep those pens active!

Amplified at Brighton Festival

After Brighton Festival had to postpone its entire programme in 2020 which was scheduled to include our second year producing Amplified, we were thrilled to finally host the event on 23rd May at Brighton Girls School.  Four young writers worked with Little Green Pig’s Chair, Senior Eastenders scriptwriter Pete Lawson, playwright and Board member Suhayla El-Bushra and Poet & MC Adam Kammerling starting with a blank piece of paper, filling it (and many more) over intense weekend workshops with highly personal narratives about what makes them the unique individuals they are.  Bold, vulnerable, determined and passionate; Matilda, Yolanda, Milo and Aliyah told their stories about navigating adolescence, falling through social gaps, finding their strengths and embracing their individuality with an eloquence far beyond their years.  Guest Director Lemn Sissay introduced the event and later declared in an interview with Radio Reverb that it had been one of his favourite performances to feature within the entire festival programme; ‘a real privilege to watch…I felt like I was looking at the future’.   If you’d like to watch the full performance, which we’d highly recommend, you can do so here; it’s hilarious, moving, galvanising and humbling in equal measure.

Volunteer’s Week

We are blessed to count so many dedicated volunteers amongst our ranks and couldn’t hope to do the work we do without their support.  Volunteer’s Week ran from 1st June and we wanted to say a huge thank you to them for their unstinting commitment and hard work.  Each of them brings singular skill sets and experience to the table which engage small groups and individual children and young people in exceptional ways, add so much value to our projects and make up an integral part of the LGP family.

We are always on the lookout for volunteers, particularly as lockdown and continuing restrictions have diminished many of our volunteer’s ability to engage with us in a face to face environment.  We have so many amazing projects in progress right now and a calendar filled with forthcoming opportunities targeted at children and young people looking to explore specific themes or who are facing particular challenges.  We’re looking for volunteers to support us in Burgess Hill, Moulsecoomb, across Brighton and Hove and in the near future, Eastbourne and Worthing.  Please share the word with friends, family and across your networks, it can be the most life affirming and rewarding experience as well as develop strengths that can hugely benefit professional development. Sign up via our website.

Comics and coaching at St Marks Primary School
With thanks to funding from the Homity Trust, we’ve been working with pupils from year 2 & 3 at St Marks Primary School in East Brighton on a comic book themed project.  Our workshop leader, Adam Webb, together with illustrator Simon Russell, have held a number of workshops mentoring over 50 children with developing their storylines and illustrations to create a portfolio of comic strips that will be displayed across the school.  Behind the scenes, the project has equally been about coaching teachers at St Marks in Little Green Pig’s creative and learning methodology, honing their practice to give children the tools and confidence to turn their ideas into artistic creations.  There are no specific outcomes for the teachers involved, each develops specialisms in the context of their personal strengths and interests with the intention to give space in the learning environment to move away from traditional attainment targets and toward fun, engaging activities. It’s already been remarked how a particular pupil who struggles to concentrate in class has been staying after school to work on their creation, such is their passion to make the best work they can and how different approaches can be so important for different children.
And a big thank you!
….to our cherished board alumni, Christine Rigby!!! Each year, Christine holds a clothes swap event and this year raised the grand sum of £230.  Friends and neighbours came to support the swap and enjoy a garden gathering and we couldn’t be more grateful to them all!
And finally, just to hoist our virtual flag and celebrate Pride month!