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A Fwobbletastic Whirlwind! – Sophie McKeand’s 2016 Highlights

Published 18 December 2017 - By Sophie McKeand

This year has been a whirlwind and I’m still tumbling along into the winter holiday season but these first months as Young People’s Laureate have been amazing. I’ve met with a number of inspiring organisations across the UK to learn about how creatives from Leeds to London engage with young people through poetry, spoken word and slam.

The Roald Dahl 100 events had me visiting communities all across Wales from the Dylan Thomas centre in Cardiff to co-organising Wrexham’s fwobbletastic Mischief March with artist Rhi Moxon in Wrexham that saw around 100 children follow a Roald Dahl inspired treasure hunt around the town. This was such a wonderful event to be part of and couldn’t have happened without the support of Wrexham’s artistic community who all got stuck in and dressed up for the occasion. Feedback from the community was fantastic:

 

A great trail around the town, the children had a fab time. All the activities were great fun and the kids obviously enjoyed all the treats – well done.

– Anwen

Brilliant day the actors were fab can’t wait to do it again. EXCELLENT.

– Owen & Evan xxx

Fabulous fun + a great way to entertain the kids and show them more about the town. Great to see so many people joining in – more please!! All of the organisers and characters were wonderful and full of energy.

– Charlie x

I was also honoured to spend sessions with young parents as part of the Barnardos Aspire project recently. Working with young parents is something close to my heart. At 20 I was a single mother, and remained so for the first eight years of my daughter’s life, so I understand how difficult it can be to just get yourself and your child through the day. The group worked incredibly hard to create a series of poems including blackout poetry, list poems of transformation, and a giant collaborative collage poem on the theme of motherhood. This final piece was 150 words long to celebrate 2016 being Barnardos’ 150th year.

This year has so far taken me to prisons, festivals (including the Abergavenny Writing Festival, The Velvet Coalmine and Focus Wales Festival), libraries, art centres, schools, forests, The Senedd and The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama to work with young people from all walks of life. The main thing that strikes me is just how talented our next generations are, they just need the right opportunities and support to find their voice and I’m delighted that Literature Wales are committed to supporting this work for the future.