Cheltenham Festivals First Story

Cheltenham Festivals & First Story

The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival thrills audiences for 10 days every October. It also engages young people throughout the year via the Cheltenham Festivals First Story programme.

Working as part of this has built relationships with younger students and her passion for writing has been reignited.


Cheltenham Festivals has developed a partnership with the national charity, First Story, to place acclaimed writers in local secondary schools.

So far we have worked successfully with students in All Saints’ Academy and Pittville School (Cheltenham), Gloucester Academy, Barnwood Park Arts College, Millbrook Academy and Severn Vale School (Gloucester). Jane Bailey, Angie Belcher, Jonathan Lloyd, Alicia Stubbersfield and Cliff Yates worked alongside students for a year to increase confidence, ambition, imagination and literacy skills.

It has really been the most worthwhile project I think I’ve ever been involved in because it’s not just about writing, it’s about building confidence

Jane Bailey, writer-in-residence

As well as special events and competitions throughout the year, including a creative writing event at Gloucester Life Museum, the students’ writing is published in professionally produced anthologies which are showcased at the following year’s Literature Festival in the Young Writers Showcase

It has helped me in my work. I have gained 3 A’s and an A* in my coursework [for the first time] which has helped me dramatically and made me quite proud

Casey Todd Hall from All Saints’ Academy

First Story’s aim is to foster creativity, literacy and confidence and we at Cheltenham Festivals are thrilled to be working with them to achieve that aim.

It has been truly one of the best experiences of my life and has shaped and developed me as a person

Amy Edwards, Barnwood Park Arts College

To find out more about the project contact

*The programme is for Secondary Schools where over 30% of students are in the 30% most deprived nationally, as identified through the IDACI index (Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index).

View the 2016/17 Annual Report

CFFS Annual Report 2016/17

2016 / 17 Funders:

The Aspinwall Educational Trust; The Santander Foundation; The Charles Irving Charitable Trust

2015 / 16 Funders:

The Rowlands Trust; The Grace Fry Charitable Trust; The Saintbury Trust; The Charles Irving Charitable Trust; The Aspinwall Educational Trust

2014 / 15 Funders: