The Scribbled Self
Cheltenham Festivals’ guide to writing for wellbeing for young people.
What is The Scribbled Self?
The Scribbled Self is a creative writing for wellbeing resource curated by young people for young people and edited by Caleb Parkin. It launched at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2022 and was part of the legacy of Beyond Words, a Cheltenham Festivals’ outreach project that ran from 2016-2021.
A writing team of six young adults, alumni from Gloucestershire Hospital Education Service and the Beyond Words programme, worked together to compile the best and most useful writing for wellbeing activities from their years with the programme. They also included wellbeing advice from their lived experience of mental ill-health and mental health charities, shaping all this into a guide for other young people designed to support their wellbeing. The resource launched at VOICEBOX and will be distributed to every secondary school in Gloucestershire over the next year. Please download our accompanying teacher’s guide below.
The history of Beyond Words
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Beyond Words created a series of videos aimed at improving wellbeing through creative writing. These videos were presented by our writer-in-residence, Caleb Parkin. Watch them here.
We also worked in partnership with Bupa Foundation on a national writing for wellbeing initiative.
In any given year, over 600 children in Gloucestershire are unable to access mainstream schooling due to conditions like mental health disorders, cancer, epilepsy, and orthopaedic, neurological and respiratory disorders. The majority of these young people are aged between 14 and 16.
Working with the Gloucestershire Hospital Education Service (GHES), Cheltenham Festivals gave every KS4 student the opportunity to work over time with a writer-in-residence, either in person or via a digital learning platform.
The young people’s writing was professionally published each year in an anthology which was launched at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.
Over the six years of the programme we worked with four writers in residence, Sue Mayfield, Jane Bailey, Miranda Walker and Caleb Parkin.