As youngsters across the country celebrate World Book Day, we take a look at crowdfunding campaign Life-changing Stories which has been launched to bring books and stories to life for children with additional needs.
Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books will raise money for the campaign on Crowdfunder UK. The museum and gallery, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, is seeking support in its Life-changing Stories campaign to raise £7,000 to fund a range of fully accessible events and experiences that will allow children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to step into their favourite stories in an inclusive and sensory environment.
Kate Edwards, chief executive of Seven Stories said, “Our ambition is for Seven Stories to be a hub for parents and carers of children with disabilities to socialise, play and learn more about how to enrich their children’s lives through the wonderful world of children’s books.
“All of the money raised by Life-changing Stories will go towards making our activities more accessible to children with additional needs and their families by providing sensory resources that will bring our exhibitions, events and stories to life in a whole new way.
“All children deserve the chance to enjoy books and stories, however they experience the world. We already work with parents, carers and schools across the UK to inspire children and families to choose, enjoy and share books together and this is a chance to bring this offer to even more young people.”
Award-winning author and illustrator Nick Sharratt (Tracy Beaker, Shark in the Park, You Choose) recently donated his archive to Seven Stories and added his voice to the Life-changing Stories campaign.
Nick said, “I love coming to Seven Stories and this campaign will open up the magic and power of children’s books to even more families, in a completely new way. I am always amazed at the creativity and dedication that goes into making Seven Stories an inclusive and immersive experience for every child and I urge everyone who has ever been transported by the power of stories to get behind this campaign. I am extremely excited to see all of the fantastic offers that it will help deliver.”
As well as providing additional sensory experiences and BSL / Makaton interpretation for performances and story times, the money raised will also allow the team to increase opportunities for children with additional needs and their families to experience Seven Stories in a calmer, quieter environment.
Beth Coverdale, learning and participation co-ordinator and access champion said, “Hustle and bustle can be overwhelming and we want to offer high-quality sensory performances tailored for children with additional access needs.
“Our relaxed story times and performances will have all the magic of a Seven Stories event and will provide a supportive but informal atmosphere for everyone that needs it.
“These sensory performances have a slightly smaller audience capacity than other showings, to help contribute to a calmer environment for children experiencing stress or anxiety.”
Seven Stories is one of the leading inclusive cultural venues in the region and was awarded the Inclusive Tourism Award at the annual North East England Tourism Awards in 2017.
The ceremony, held on Thursday 16 November, celebrated the very best of the North East’s prestigious tourism businesses, recognising excellence in a variety of categories and credited Seven Stories for their ongoing partnership with St Oswald’s Hospice to create accessible experiences for children with life limiting illness and their families.
This project kick-started the cross organisational initiative to make Seven Stories as accessible and inclusive as possible to all public visitors, including an extensive building refurbishment in 2015.
Money raised through the Life-changing Stories campaign will be eligible for match funding though the Newcastle Culture Investment Fund, in partnership with Newcastle City Council and the Community Foundation for Tyne & Wear and Northumberland if they successfully reach their target.
To pledge your support to Life-changing Stories and support children and families across the North East, visit crowdfunder.co.uk today and join the conversation online by using #lifechangingstories. For information on World Book Day, see worldbookday.com/
Information from Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books
Seven Stories is The National Centre for Children’s Books – the only place in Britain dedicated to saving, celebrating and sharing our rich literary heritage for children.
Seven Stories’ home is a carefully converted listed warehouse in Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England. The museum opened in 2005 and visitors can explore seven floors of galleries, creative spaces, a specialist children’s bookshop and a café. Everything Seven Stories does uses children’s books to inspire children and grown-ups to be curious, imaginative and creative. It strives to encourage people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to enjoy a lifetime of reading for pleasure through inventive and immersive exhibitions and lively events and learning programmes.
Seven Stories has built an extensive children’s literature archive covering the 1930s to the present day. It collects all that goes into the making of a book – first scribbles, dummy books, roughs, final artwork, letters and correspondence, drafts and finished manuscript. The work of over 250 British authors and illustrators, including Judith Kerr, Enid Blyton, Philip Pullman and David Almond is cared for in our Collection – and it is still growing.
Over 70,000 people visit us every year, including 8,000 visits from school children. In addition, Seven Stories works with children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds through outreach and participation work. In 2015/16 over 25,000 children and carers took part in outreach activities to build book and story sharing confidence and enjoyment. Since 2005 over 800,000 people have visited Seven Stories.
Seven Stories is increasingly known across the UK by its ambitious touring exhibition programme. More than 1.6 million people have enjoyed a Seven Stories exhibition on tour.
Seven Stories is part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio and is an accredited museum with National status, recognising the national and international significance of its collections and the quality of the work in sharing these treasures through its exhibitions and its public and learning programmes.
Seven Stories is a charity, all the money earned and raised is used to safeguard the magic of children’s books for future generations to enjoy.