Start works with children from some of the most deprived areas in the UK. We give opportunities to children who wouldn't have access to them without our support. 

Forthview Primary School took part in a three-year Start project with the Festival City Theatres Trust in Edinburgh.  Forthview is in a severely deprived area of the city and has more children in the care system than any other primary school in Edinburgh. Eileen Littlewood, the Head Teacher of Forthview, explains the challenges her pupils face:

"Almost all the pupils are very poor. About 50% of them are in receipt of free school meals and clothing. About another 45% are in the poverty trap. Their parents work, often as cleaners, or similar occupations, so they don’t receive the free school meals and clothing, but they have very little, if anything at all, left over after the bills are paid. Certainly there is no money for the ‘extras’, such as books and theatre trips."

Eileen also told us of the enormous impact that participating in Start has had on the children at Forthview Primary, saying:

Sir Tim Brighouse talks of the need for butterflies in education. Think of the chaos theory – a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon, which causes a hurricane somewhere else in the world. Last session the Start project was our butterfly.

As part of the project the children went to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Back in school, they wrote their own ‘Curious Incidents’ short stories in creative writing workshops, led by a professional author and poet. These stories were compiled and published by White Water Publishing, and were performed at a local community centre by professional actors, allowing parents, peers, and teachers to see and hear what the children had produced.

Niall Heron, a teacher at Forthview said:

I know for the children of this school that to be attending their own book launch, and to hear their stories being read out, gave them an immense feeling of pride, confidence and accomplishment.

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Images © Aly Wright