Tameside's Story Makers

Date Released - 22/04/2022

The final sessions of Story Makers took place on Tuesday 19 April at Droylsden Library and Wednesday 20 April at Dukinfield Library, including an interactive read-a-long of the new search and find book, ‘Our Community’.

The Tameside Story Makers library project, funded by Tameside’s Community Safety Partnership, ran from September 2021 to April 2022 and was delivered at three libraries; Droylsden, Dukinfield and Hattersley.  The project was also delivered digitally via Zoom, for schools and early years settings in Tameside, with 7 sessions running per week.  The weekly Story Makers performances, delivered by Simon the Storyteller, were attended by over 450 pre-school aged children and their families.

The sessions were based on community cohesion, kindness and helping others in the community, using published books and other resources to lead engaging performances. The aim of the sessions was to strengthen families’ sense of community pride and social cohesion.

As part of the project, children and their parents/carers had the opportunity to attend three workshops designed and delivered by children’s writer Caryl Hart, and illustrator, Andy Rowland. The workshops resulted in the creation of an original children’s search and find picture book, this years’ theme being ‘My Community’ which promoted active citizenship, a theme inspired by the recent pandemic. Children, their families and early years settings actively participated and helped to produce the book named, ‘Our Community: A Tameside search and find’, contributing ideas for story lines, characters, settings and illustrations.  The illustrations were also fully inclusive and involved characters of all abilities and ethnicities.

A parent who participated in Story Makers commented: ‘’My second baby was born during the height of lockdown. It was the only thing I had to look forward to in the dark, grey winter when all lifelines for mums with new babies had had to stop.

Story Makers was the light of the week, something for us all to look forward to, and even get dressed up for and join in with the fun dancing, dough disco and singing as well as the engaging stories. We now attend again in person, and love being part of the library community.’’

Story Makers successfully engaged with children, their parents or careers and early year’s settings, developing their self-confidence, self-esteem and motivation through being involved in a community project. Families attending the session did not need to be library members, however the sessions increased library membership and the number of books borrowed. Parents and carers who attended the final sessions also received a complimentary copy of Sofia Khan and the Baby Blues by Ayisha Malik for World Book Night, 23 April.

Children and families who attended the sessions will receive a free copy of the book ‘Our Community’, certificate and bookmark. Those attending the final sessions had the opportunity to get their copy signed by the author and illustrator at the final session. The book will also be featured as part of the Tameside Loves Reading campaign. In addition, the search and find book will be available to borrow from all Tameside libraries and will be gifted to other settings and organisations throughout Tameside.

Families who attended the Story Makers project can now pick up their FREE copy of the book ‘Our Community’, a certificate and bookmark from any Tameside Library.