Huddersfield Literature Festival wins National Lottery grant to help children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Project leader Nisha Lall
Author and project leader Salma Zaman

The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded a grant to Huddersfield Literature Festival (HLF) to deliver a special project as part of its Spring 2022 Festival.

My Family Creates will comprise free online creative activities specially designed for families with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND), with a particular focus on those of South Asian, African and Caribbean heritage.

The videos and downloadable activity packs will feature creative writing, dance, creative and physical movement, sensory drama and wellbeing activities – delivered by industry experts, Salma Zaman and Nisha Lall.

The activity packs will be available to download from the Festival website and the videos will be hosted on the HLF YouTube channel, and then made available to SEND schools, organisations and networks.

My Family Creates aims to improve confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing, and to reduce isolation for participants, while encouraging families to try new creative activities in the familiar setting of their own homes and to bond over shared experiences. The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes, will help to fill a gap in provision for SEND families, many of whom have been shielding or limiting outside contact due to Covid-19.

The grant follows the success of a pilot of the project, funded by the Festival and launched at the Sangam Festival during the summer of 2021. This can still be accessed through the HLF website.

My Family Creates has the support of a range of local partners, including Castle Hill School, Caudwell Children, PCAN Kirklees, Shabang and Darren Tordoff, Inclusions Officer at Kirklees Council.

Festival Director Michelle Hodgson said: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. Our Festival is committed to supporting access for all and My Family Creates is an excellent fit for our community strand.”

Sarah Ferguson shared the story of Greedy Gertie on her Youtube channel

Project leader Nisha Lall said: “This is a much-needed project for families that can be accessed directly in their homes. We are looking forward to creating more activities that will help families to feel more connected, confident and creative, and less excluded.” Salma Zaman, also a project leader, added “My Family Creates will allow us to put in place carefully targeted SEND resources for families, carers, children and young adults with additional needs and disabilities. This project will enable us to capture valuable snippets of targeted learning and development and help build confidence and raise self-esteem among the participants, as well as their families and carers.”

Here are some of the responses to the My Family Creates pilot project:
“The activities made us feel connected as a family.”
“We felt confident because it was easy to follow.”
“We engaged and interacted with lots of sensory and tactile equipment after the session. My son was very calm and relaxed.”
“We loved Greedy Gertie (herself) in her wheelchair.”
“My son liked the Being Me Poem video with actions where he could clap and tap.”
“Thank you for not forgetting children with additional needs.”

Huddersfield Times

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