Young Carers Project in Manchester

Recently started a creative writing project with young carers in Manchester and Cheshire. I’ve got a new website dedicated to the project here, hosted by the University of Lancaster, who is kindly funding the project. All of the participants are aged between 14- 20 and live in Greater Manchester or Cheshire, and I am developing their writing to produce an anthology. This will republished by Writing on the Wall festival.  I’m working with six young carers from Family Action, and seven from CarersTrust4all, based in Cheshire. That’s a lot of teenagers!

Our first workshop was a full afternoon at Proctors Youth Centre in Hulme. Lovely Vicky from literally spent all morning from 8am picking up everyone from around the North West in a van. She is made of stern stuff.

I provided the sandwiches. I have never bought food for 13 teenagers before. How many loaves of bread does it take? My guess of four was actually correct! As an introductory workshop, I wanted the writing exercises to be open and about content rather than form. I was initially worried that I wouldn’t be able to get 13 teenagers to write. But by half way through there was the wonderful silence of people writing contently. I’ll upload some of the exercises we did in a later post.

Our second workshop was help in the Power House in Moss Side. The support worker from Family Action is called Shay Garry, and if you are a writer based in Manchester, you may think, hmmm, I know the name Garry. And yes, it’s a small world. Shay is Mike Garry’s brother. Because of this, and the fact that Mike is a wonderful facilitator, I invited Mike Garry to run our second workshop. The support worker from CarersTrust4U as well as some of the young people were ill, so we only had five Young Carers there. This was a real shame. Mike was really inspiring, and did some wonderful work in getting the young people to read their writing aloud.

Tonight is our third workshop with wonderful Michelle Green, who is  short story writer and poet. I’m really looking forward to it.

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