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Published: September 23, 2021 | Updated: September 24, 2021

Calling all wordsmiths! Charity seeks families to share their stories in writing competition

Prizes in the writing contest include book vouchers, hampers and days out. Picture: Andy Aitchison/HomeStart UK.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A new writing competition for families to share their stories has been launched by the charity Home-Start South East Dorset.

Prizes on offer include book vouchers, hampers and days out.

The competition has several categories open to enter.

Each age group has its own writing topic, from favourite outdoor activities to parenting highs and lows and more.

Poems and short stories are welcome.

Entries must be received by midnight on Monday November 8.

Shortlisted entries will be judged by bestselling children’s author Sarah Lean who wrote A Dog Called Homeless.

Sarah, pictured, said: “I am very happy to be invited to be part of this competition.

“I loved writing stories as a child, dictating them to my mother who typed them up on an old borrowed typewriter.

“It was magic to see what I had inside me turn into neatly formed words on paper.

“Storytime at school, home and the library was one of my most favourite activities.

“We probably all need a little more restful and comforting time of listening together and sharing a book.”

Various bodies of research have highlighted the benefits of reading to children and the reality that thousands of children in Britain do not even have a book of their own.

Organisations such as The National Literacy Trust and Bookstart are focused on improving access to books and encouraging parents to read to their children regularly from birth, to encourage connection and a love of reading.

Supporters of the competition include Hodson Writing Services.

Founder Gayleen Hodson, pictured right, believes that writing and creativity are very important at a young age.

She said: “Writing and creativity help children to express emotions.

“A child’s creative activity can help teachers and parents to learn more about what the child may be thinking or feeling at the time.

“Older children can write down things that are on their minds.

“Creative outlets can help to, therefore, boost mental health and express emotions.

“Creative activities can also aid diversity and improve intellectual skills, as well as increase inspiration and confidence.”

Caroline Pope, Community & Corporate Engagement Manager at Home-Start South East Dorset, pictured left, said: “We are delighted that both Sarah Lean and Hodson Writing Services have agreed to be involved in this project.

“We can’t wait to read all the entries as they come in.

“I am sure we will be blown away by the creativity of the children and adults in our local area.”

To enter or for more information please click here.