For Communities

NCW works with and for communities to develop and encourage a creative relationship with books, words and ideas. We believe that a life lived with words leads to greater confidence, better mental wellbeing, enhanced connection and a more involved sense of community.

Community and people are a huge part of Dragon Hall’s story – from the medieval merchant traders to the Victorian slum dwellers, to our many and varied visitors and participants today. It’s imperative that National Centre for Writing is a welcoming space where people can meet and engage in creative activity that is relevant and meaningful to their lives. We aim to do that by creating opportunities to hear and share each other’s stories, of those who lived in Dragon Hall throughout its history, and from those who will walk through its doors today and tomorrow.

Learning and participation are core to NCW’s work and nurturing a connection between writing and participants from a range of backgrounds and lived experiences is central to our mission.

Our Approach

We work closely with and for our local communities to build engaging, creative programmes, with storytelling and story-making at their heart. Priority groups are children, young people and families, older people, and refugee, asylum seekers and migrant communities.

Operating from Dragon Hall, settings across the city and via online, we deliver a range of programmes devised in collaboration with participants, with their priorities at the forefront.

Sometimes these activities are aimed at a specific group across several weeks (A Life Written). Sometimes they are drop-in in nature and serve a broader community (Stories from the Quarter and our collaborations with New Routes).

Whatever the format and whoever the participants, these activities always celebrate and explore writing as a vehicle for wellbeing, enjoyment, connection, confidence-building, and pleasure. 

Upcoming programmes

In 2023 and 2024, funding from Arts Council England, Wolfson Foundation, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Geoffrey Waling Charity and other local trusts and foundations will support us to deliver ‘Stepping into Dragon Hall’, a programme of work which will allow us to provide open, refreshed, and accessible spaces for community use. This will enable us to share Dragon Hall’s heritage and stories with visitors and audiences. If you would welcome more information on this, please email [email protected].

Within this programme, NCW will co-host an Anglia Ruskin University Pro-Vice Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship in ‘writing and wellbeing’. This opportunity supports a PhD candidate to work with our communities to explore how writing has a positive effect on health and wellbeing.

From November 2023, we are seeking volunteers to take part in ‘Stepping into Dragon Hall‘.


Support our work with communities

100% of your donation will help children, young people and people from diverse community groups developing skills, wellbeing and better futures through writing.

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