Ipswich's civic church of St Mary-le-Tower is partnering with Suffolk Children's University to develop out-of-school hours provision for children and young people in the town. This Story Harvesting Project, piloted with Key Stage 3 pupils from Westbourne Academy, launches that new and exciting partnership.
COVID-19 hit many school children hard. It was not just their learning that was disrupted. Lockdown and social distancing also prevented them developing key skills. Problem solving, working with others and perseverance are just some of the vital, transferable, 'employability' skills which need practice. Young people, if they are to take up their rightful position in society and contribute to their community, need to be confidence and aspirational.
The Story Harvesting Project was conceived by St Mary-le-Tower. The aim was to develop the participants' key skills by encouraging them to connect with older members of their family, harvesting stories about the past. Listening, questioning and then writing up the anecdotes and tales they had been told were all useful skills that lockdown had frustrated. This harvested material was then used to produce cards, to support schools' Citizenship curriculum, thus providing the participants with an entrepreneurial strand to the project.
A generous grant, awarded by Ipswich Opportunity Area (IOA) and Ipswich Cultural Education Partnership (ICEP), enabled the Story Harvesting Project to draw on the expertise of Gillian Allard, Master of Photography, to enhance the project with visual imagery.