Bath Festivals teams up with reading charity to publish Young hospital patients-turned-authors’ stories

Stories written by young patients at Bristol children’s hospital have been compiled into a book as part of a project run by Bath Festivals, storyteller Jennifer Lunn and Read for Good – a charity that helps children develop a love of reading.

Entitled Once Upon A Time…, the book was launched in the hospital with storytelling and performances of the imaginative stories, which include The Mystery of the Footprints, Harriet Escapes the Bear and Lucy and the Lobster.

Founder and artistic director of Cardiff-based Culturcated Theatre Company, Jennifer visited the children in hospital and worked with them to develop colourful stories and encourage their creative side – taking them away from the challenges they were facing.

Each of the young authors received a copy and books are also on display in the hospital’s school room for patients and their families to enjoy.

The project was part of Bath Spa University’s Paper Nations creative writing initiative, funded by the Arts Council, Bath Festivals and Read for Good.

Bath Festivals, a charity whose main sources of funding are donations from individuals, patrons, corporate partners and grants from the Arts Council and Bath Tourism Plus, has developed a creative learning programme to ensure that children and young people’s ideas, views and creative vision are at the heart of the projects it undertakes, actively involving them in the creative process.

It has supported children and young people to create songs, stories and poems, performances of their own work, installations and publications.

Bath Festivals head of creative learning Hazel Plowman said: “Creative learning is an integral part of Bath Festivals’ mission which strives for inclusion and accessibility to the arts for all.

“It has been a real privilege to work alongside Read for Good on this project, which has enabled children and young people at Bristol children’s hospital to create heart-warming and creative stories in print for the first time and hopefully inspired them to begin their own creative writing journeys.

“We’re always happy to work with other charities who share our goal of giving children and young people opportunities to work with leading arts professionals, gain real-world experience, grow passions and interests and create and produce their own work.”

Bath Festivals also recently arranged for Ben Faulks, more widely known as Mr Bloom from CBeebies, to visit the hospital to meet the young patients after his event at Bath Children’s Literature Festival.

Read for Good CEO Justine Daniels said: “Read for Good is thrilled and proud to be involved in this collaborative project that has enabled the young patients of Bristol children’s hospital to create wonderfully vivid stories, and see their work actually published in a booklet that they can share with family and friends.

“Stories, reading, writing and illustration are so vital to support the well-being of children who find themselves in hospital; these creative outlets provide a means to escape the four walls enabling children in hospital to go anywhere their imagination takes them.”

Read for Good encourages children to read for fun through its sponsored Readathon. The money raised buys books for schools and brings the power of stories to children in hospital via the charity’s mobile bookcases and resident storytellers.



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