Fight for Children's Writes!

by The Bank of Dreams & Nightmares in Bridport, Dorset, United Kingdom

Total raised £37,256

raised so far

+ est. £1218.75 Gift Aid

190

supporters

We need to raise £30,000 to continue to deliver our FREE creative writing workshops to children.

Project by The Bank of Dreams & Nightmares

We're still collecting donations

On the 13th June 2023 we'd raised £31,571 with 178 supporters in 79 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 donated match funding
BA Better World Community Fund is providing live match funding

 New stretch target

The initial £30,000 will allow us to deliver workshops for a year in primary and secondary schools, but we would like to reach even more children and there are many more schools in the area that we have not reached yet. We also want to create a second after school workshop that will run during term times and allow older children to really flex their creative writing muscles with help from visiting guest authors and explore other avenues of creative writing and where it can take them in the real world. 


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We live in an age, particularly post pandemic, where there's a lot of pressure on children's mental health and well-being. Issues around climate change and the cost of living crisis now affect us all and huge budget cuts to youth services and education have left many of our children with increased gaps in provision, and we have seen a decline in self confidence as they struggle to express themselves. 

The time for creativity is NOW.

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Behind every story, poem or sketch is the truth waiting to get out and we know that this is cathartic. Creative writing is a key to children solidifying their identity, finding their voice and making sense of their place in the world.  Creativity isn't just for fun, it's an essential life skill. The Bank of Dreams & Nightmares mission, is to build confidence and help mental health by empowering young people to unleash their potential through creative writing, exploring the natural world around them and get their imaginations firing.

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Our free, child-led creative writing workshops use the arts to support academic, social and emotional development and provide publishing platforms for young people to express themselves and have their voices heard. We believe our programmes will help create a world where young people recognise the power of their words to change their lives, their aspirations, their situation, their environment and the world. 

Working with industry professionals, we aim to boost creativity, motivation and writing development for young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and support communities in need where provision is limited or non-existent. 

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We've done some pretty cool things so far:

  • Creating sketch comedies and pitching them to BBC Comedy
  • Collaborating with Stuff & Nonsense theatre company to create the text for their next touring show
  • A quarterly newspaper created entirely by children
  • A Guidebook to Weymouth
  • Four published anthologies of short stories and poems

But to continue, we need your support. 

We currently work with 25 schools, over 1,000 children, and 70 volunteers.  Demand for The Bank's services is increasing. Stories and words are through the roof, and we are trading more than ever before. 

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Fight for Children's Writes is our call to arms. We cannot deliver our essential programming without your help!  We need to reach our goal of  £30,000 to ensure we can empower the young minds of the future and help them unleash their potential. The money will allow us to deliver over 50 primary story-making workshops covering topics that we know the children want to talk about and in particular we have a new strand focused on climate change issues. 

We will also publish 3 anthologies of short stories by secondary school writers, one which has already been confirmed entitled CHANGE and looks at the how nature is changing and in particular re wilding and how it effects the local environment. The stories will be inspired by nature but take on various different forms depending on where the young writers want to take it. The end result will be a published anthology in the style of a field journal. For this project we are teaming up with Wilding West Dorset to help provide the inspiration for the young writers stories.

We aim to work with 1500 children this coming year which equates to  20 per child for the year.

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Hear what some of our kids say about it.....

"I loved the World Book Day session because the people made me feel happy and they made me feel like I accomplished something good. They made me feel as though I had done well." Henry 

"I wish to get on the scriptwriting team because I am artistic, creative and friendly!" Hope 

Magnificent Micah
Micah is a year 4 pupil who has been mute throughout his school life, who has only spoken in front of/to one trusted member of staff after almost two years of careful interventions and relationship building. In our first session, Micah chose to share an idea with volunteer Anna, which was then developed through consequent sessions. Micah's teacher noted, "This to me speaks volumes about how keen he was to share, how comfortable he was in the situation and how engaged he was in the process. He is a pupil with incredibly high anxiety, particularly around speaking, and the fact that he chose to share of his own accord is really, truly incredible."


Or listen to our founders TEDx talk below:

Why Imagination? 

Because there is no future without imagination! 

To help explain how we got here, let us ask you the question we start all of our workshops with . . . .

What ingredients do you think make a great story? Take a second to think about what your answer might be . . . .

You might come up with cliffhangers, drama, mystery, interesting characters, or conflict and resolution, or even a good hook, (as is often the case when we talk to adults.)These are all answers we expect to hear and ones that do indeed make a great story. 

However, when we began our journey and started to ask primary school children the same question, the top three answers we heard were  'punctuation', 'words', and 'fronted adverbials'.

Alarm bells began to ring!!!

This heavy focus on grammar and structure was something that shocked us when we first started, and we have since seen this across all of our school workshops.

What makes a great story is imagination!

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Engaging their imaginations can help young people solidify their identity, find their own voice, their place and their confidence. In an uncertain time, with many young people feeling the impact of rising cost of living, chronic stress and increased pressure on mental health in their families and communities, the time for creativity is NOW. 

"The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice."

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

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More information about us

Who are we?

In 2021 we set to work firing up children's imaginations in schools and community spaces across Dorset, drawing out their creativity, helping young people see where their writing could take them.

The Bank of Dreams and Nightmares believes that the stories our young people create are worth a lot. In fact it's our currency! We trade in stories and deal in legends. Great romances and tiny dramas are deposited in our strongboxes. Our vaults store worlds, characters, dreams and, yes, nightmares too.

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Our approach to creative writing as a tool to build skills and increase chances of future success was first developed by charity 826 Valencia in America. Elements central to the programme that we replicate include lively sessions, emphasis on child-led projects, the inclusion of writing professionals in the delivery of the workshops, volunteer mentors working one-to-one with children, and real-life audiences to children's stories. 

The model was brought to East London by the Ministry of Stories, and the model has been so successful that it has now been replicated by a number of organisations, namely Fighting Words in Ireland, Grimm and Co in Rotherham and ourselves in Dorset. 

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Extensive research into the success of these models has proven that children make significant leaps in learning, build confidence and motivation, and develop strong communication skills. There are calls for scaled and replicated approaches across the UK for the benefit of children's wellbeing and creativity. 

What Happens at The Bank?

We run free, child-led creative writing workshops for young people from all backgrounds, encouraging them to use their creativity in a safe space, explore different worlds, and express themselves without fear of being judged. 

Each child creates a story that gets released into the real world, as a published book, anthology of poems, podcast, or even a play. We want children to see that their writing will be taken seriously, show them the possibilities of what can be achieved, and make those achievements a reality. In the last year children have become published authors, newspaper journalists, podcast creators, written campaign videos to inspire local change, and even been part of creating a play for a national puppet touring company.

We deliver a number of strands of activity that aim to give children and young people in Dorset the opportunity to raise their confidence through their own creativity. We work within an 18-mile radius of Bridport, and workshops are developed with teachers and professional authors, screenwriters, podcasters, and creative professionals. 

Our three main strands of activity are:

  • Primary School Workshops
  • Secondary School Workshops
  • After School/ Holiday Activities in the community

Our Impact: The Interest We've Accrued

Since September 2021, we have delivered creative writing activity to over 1,000 young people in schools and community spaces in Dorset and the surrounding areas, and in the year ahead we hope to increase this to 1500, a 50% increase.

Over the last year, our creative activity with young people has equated to: 

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Select a reward

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£25 or more

Read all about it!

When you donate £25 you’ll receive 4 issues of our quarterly newspaper created and written by children in our workshops. Your donation allows us to train a story mentor volunteer to give one to one support to the children we work with.

£10 or more

Join the wall of supporters

Join the wall of sponsors on the back of our newspaper! The back of the paper is made up of 1000 1cm by 1cm blocks, each block costs a £10 donation, and we will add your name or business logo in the block. The more blocks you buy, the bigger your logo can appear on the final page. Your contribution will provide journals and pencils for a whole class. At the checkout add the quantity of squares you require.

£50 or more

Writing power!

We’re going to send you a story created in one of our recent school workshops. It ends on a cliff hanger and has space for you to back up the ending yourself! Check your inbox!

£75 or more

Published work

We’ll send you copies of all our student publications; Spiralling, I Have a Dream and Food Glorious Food. These books have been written entirely by children attending our workshops. Your donation will allow us to create printed story-making books for a class of 30 children.

£500 or more

Team effort!

Co-sponsor the workshop delivery and production of one of our amazing anthologies created entirely by children. We’ll include your details in the book as the co-sponsor and you’ll receive 5 copies plus an invitation to the book launch event.

£1,500 or more

Artistic license.

Fully sponsor the creation of one of our published anthologies. From initial workshops through to the finished book celebration at a launch event. We’ll include your details in the book as the sponsor and you will receive 10 copies plus an invitation to the book launch.

£2,000 or more

My word is my bond.

Become a GOVERNOR of the Bank. Help the charity and in return you will be forever on our wall of exclusive members in the bank itself. Plus you will receive one of our “WORD BONDS” giving you the ownership of your own special word which no one else at the Bank can own. We have wonderful bonds still available for words like; Mellifluous, Illicit, Eloquence, Epoch, Twiddle and Effervescence or pick your own.

£10,000 or more

Go down in history.

Become a founder of The Bank of Dreams & Nightmares and have your name included in the charity's history. Receive all issues of the quarterly newspaper and every publication we’ve produced. You will also get to sponsor a word of your choice to receive your WORD BOND. Your donation will allow us to deliver a special one off long term project during after school clubs or school holidays.

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