Learners at HMP Holme House took part in a creative writing evening programme to strengthen their relationships with family members. The innovative programme was proposed by the learners themselves during discussions with Novus and the Drug Recovery Programme (DRP) at the prison.
Funded by the DRP and delivered collaboratively by the DRP team, Novus and a local creative writer, the creative writing programme encouraged learners to become involved in alternative provision in the evening, rather than engage in association activities on the house block.
The weekly programme inspired learners to write stories for their children, using research and imagination in their writing, and demonstrating some of the techniques needed when writing for children of different ages. During the sessions the learners wrote stories, poems, plays and memoirs, sharing and critiquing their own work alongside their peers. The activity showed learners that good writing does not only belong in books.
The six learners who completed the sessions wrote and published a series of books for children of various ages. Another poem/story book was produced collectively by the group, which will also be published.
Feedback from learners who attended the programme included “I never thought I could do this!”, “Thank you for helping us create a gift for our children to enjoy and keep”, and “I’d definitely do a creative writing course again!”
To celebrate the learner’s hard work, a book launch was held in collaboration with the library. The learners and their peers from other educational classes attended. The creative writer and the learners shared their experiences of writing the books and promoted the project to their peers, to gauge interest for potential similar projects in the future. Each author was presented with copies of their books to share with family members.