New Routes is an organisation which supports refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants.
We work together with them to design writing and story-building workshops and drop-in activities for children, young people, and families, to promote cross-cultural integration and awareness, to introduce participants to each other, and to have fun with stories and language.
Our pilot project was ‘NCW Platform’. Thanks to Arts Council England and the Linbury Trust, NCW was able to deliver a bespoke, co-curated programme of work with and for New Routes.
NCW’s community work has demonstrated that story-making and writing have beneficial impacts on individuals and communities in terms of increased confidence, reduced social isolation and better community cohesion. This programme with New Routes sought to support and empower the Refugee and Asylum-seeking participants to explore their creative writing journeys with us, and to build a relationship with Dragon Hall, our Grade I listed literature house in Norwich’s historic King Street.
There were three strands of activity, delivered at the New Routes hub and at Dragon Hall. We worked to engage established communities in creative writing and storytelling with several different groups, but were also able to react to the needs and preferences of the community.
- Activities with girls and young women aged 8-14 years, led by Ellie Mckinlay-Khojinian
- Hands-on creative writing, games and play with children and families, led by Daisy Henwood
- Family-friendly English activity sessions at Dragon Hall throughout the summer holidays
We welcomed families from different backgrounds including Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Albania, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Turkey and Sudan.
Participants’ feedback included feeling ‘confident’, ‘energetic’, ‘full of ideas’ and joyful’ after sessions.
We’re working with New Routes and our Community Advisory Board to establish other opportunities to work together in the near future.
It has been brilliant to watch our young people grow in confidence in sharing their writing and using their own creative ideas. We are excited to continue work with NCW.