YUSU volunteering project praised by government

Inkwell, a YUSU volunteering project which aims to develop primary school children’s literacy skills, was described as “outstanding” by the government

Inkwell, a YUSU volunteering project that develops literacy skills through creative writing workshops, could have an influence on future government policy.

InkwellThe students who run Inkwell were contacted earlier this summer by a member of the Cabinet Office who wished to discuss their work and the impact it has on school children in York.

Following email correspondence, the Cabinet Office told Inkwell the government were “very impressed” with their work, which they described as an example of “outstanding volunteering”.

The students involved with the project were asked to provide information about what they had done in the past year to allow the government to create a case file which could be used as an example for when policy regarding volunteering, communities, and higher and primary education is reviewed.

Inkwell currently runs three programmes called News Flash, Story Makers and Poetry Lab, which was recently adapted for the Tour de France Cultural Festival. Their sessions are designed to be “as fun, creative and imaginative as possible”.

Children participating in News Flash, a programme focussed on writing for the media, report on events happening within their school, with their stories usually being collated in the form of a newspaper. Sara Dimmock, Co-Founder of Inkwell, told Nouse: “We are also hoping to allow the children to experiment with TV and radio too – we’re constantly trying to get student media to help us with this!”

Speaking of the goverment’s recognition of their project, Hannah Trott, former Project Coordinator and Co-Founder of Inkwell, said: “It has been under a year since Sara and I launched Inkwell in schools. In that time the project has grown bigger and achieved more than we could ever have imagined.

“For the Cabinet Office to recognise us as an example of outstanding volunteering is truly the cherry on top of what has been an amazing year. This recognition, as a case study for volunteering, shows everybody else just how special Inkwell’s volunteers and support network are. Everyone should be incredibly proud of their efforts.”

Similarly, Laura Wood, Secretary of Inkwell, told Nouse:“It’s fantastic that the time and dedication put into Inkwell by Hannah and Sara, student volunteers and local schools has been recognised by the government in this way. It shows that students can make a real difference to the local community, and are recognised on a larger scale. The project’s success over the past year is reflected in the Cabinet Office’s interest in what we do, and as the new committee we can’t wait to continue Inkwell’s work with local children in York!”

The Inkwell team are currently working on library sessions for the October half term after similar sessions were held earlier this year in New Earswick Library and Acomb Explore Library. This year’s library sessions will revolve around the theme of superheroes.

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