Call for Volunteers with The Writers’ Block

The Writers’ Block is an imaginative and customised space in the heart of Cornwall College in Pool dedicated to creative writing and literature.  Our ambition is to become the Centre for Writing in Cornwall.

We currently run:

  • programmes for reluctant writers with schools
  • special projects for targeted groups of young people and adults
  • an early years’ story sharing Little Story Seekers,
  • holiday workshops, young writers and illustrators groups
  • a Speakeasy for emerging writers
  • a memory café
  • writer events and a mini festival Ideas from the Attic


The ambition and programme is growing …


This is where we need your help. 

We are a small team with big ideas and are looking for a small group of volunteers who have a passion for creative writing and working with young people and the community.

These are the different roles which we envisage will grow as we develop.

  • Supporting writer-led sessions with young people (you would need both teaching and writing experience to do this)
  • Supporting individuals with reading and writing (in the future)
  • Helping at events
  • Advocacy and publicity



At the moment this could be quite sporadic and is more likely to be one-off sessions or maybe over a 5 week period of once a week.  It is unlikely to be on a weekly or monthly basis.

We shall have our first introductory meeting on: Tuesday 18th September from 5-7pm

Our first event with volunteers will a Fun Palace on Saturday 6th October from 10-3pm.

There will be other opportunities if you cannot make these dates.


How do I find out more?

Visit  or


Contact Amanda Harris,  07712331421 if you would be interested in volunteering with us in the future.

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Young Writers Shine on National Writing Day

KEAP and book printers TJ International are delighted to launch their newest publication Let the Adventure Begin… An anthology of short stories by children on June 27th at The Writers’ Block in Cornwall College Camborne to coincide with National Writing Day.

Children from Crowan, Blackwater, Fowey and St Mewan Schools along with the Virtual Schools and The Young Writers’ Group have all been attending sessions at The Writers’ Block.  All of the sessions have been led by professional writers Wyl Menmuir, Rebecca Gregson and Jane Pugh with the aim to foster a love of writing through encouraging children’s imaginations, developing their confidence as writers and giving them time to create and write.

The stories and poems in this anthology come straight from the young writers’ notebooks and reflect the stage at which they are now in their writing (and not yet where they aspire to be).  They are a part of a learning process to encourage an enthusiasm for writing which we hope will develop into a love of language and storytelling.” Amanda Harris, director of KEAP and The Writers’ Block.

The stories are of epic journeys, terrifying battles and terrible encounters with beasts and aliens.  Some are very funny, others poignant and many quite surreal.  There is descriptive writing where the writer is evidently taking delight in manipulating language and creating an effect for the reader.  They are all different.

The Writers’ Block is a place of wonder and imagination in which to create, shape and share stories and creative writing. Transformed, by artists and carpenters, from two disused classrooms, it is a unique space of inspiration and ingenuity.

Before, I wasn’t very confident which meant I didn’t enjoy it as much but now I’ve gained confidence and I really enjoy writing.” Pupil from The Writers’ Block.

One of our aims is to give a platform for children’s writing to give them a sense of a wider audience.  TJ International has given immeasurable support by printing this book.  Each child will be given a copy at the launch event.

TJ are proud to collaborate with KEAP on this exciting new anthology. Supporting literacy at the grass-roots level in Cornwall is something we have always been passionate about. We hope that seeing their stories in print will serve to nurture creative writing talent in the future. Hannah Vaughan, TJ International

For further information www.thestoryrepublic/the-writers-block






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TJ Intl and KEAP launch The Writers’ Book Anthology

We’ve had the absolute pleasure and excitement of collaborating with TJ International to publish The Writers’ Block Anthology.  TJ International caught up with Amanda Harris, our Director at KEAP, to discuss the publication:

First of all, tell us about the Writers’ Block and what it does for students in Cornwall.

The Writers’ Block is a space which has been created as a place dedicated to support creative writing in all different forms. Two empty classrooms at Cornwall College Camborne have been transformed by artists and craftspeople into a space which  ignites the imagination and is a focused place for people to write.  We run programmes for schools, early years, holiday workshops, sessions for special groups and adult sessions. We increasingly run literature inspired events at The Writers’ Block.

The bedrock of The Writers’ Block is school children and our focus on reluctant writers.

How did the idea for the Writers’ Block Anthology come about?

One the key motivators for writing is having an audience for your work. When Hannah Vaughan, from TJ International, suggested that they could print some of the stories which have been generated in The Writers’ Block, we leapt at the chance. What could be more motivating than seeing you work in print?

Why do you think it’s important to get students, particularly those reluctant to writing, engaging with stories?

I firmly believe that if you have a story to tell, one that you have belief in, that you care about, then you will make the effort to write it to the best of your ability. Some children feel that they can’t write, that they have no imagination, they don’t feel good enough, so they give up. Our aim is to unlock their imaginations and give them the confidence to try and then share their stories. When they come to The Writers’ Block, the children are writers. We want them to leave with this sense of self-belief from which their teacher can really help them with the more formal aspects of writing.

Why did you decide to turn the stories into a physical book?

What could be better than a book! So not only is your work in there but there are more than 60 other pieces of writing to read! The children can keep it for ever and also share with their family and friends. I can feel the pride already! It also gives us the chance to do a book launch. I just wish we could have included all the children who attended sessions here, however, it would have been quite a tome… We are also overjoyed to use an illustration by Bex Bourne, a professional illustrator, on the cover which captures some of the energy of the writing on the inside covers.

If people are interested in buying a copy of the Writers’ Block Anthology, how much are they and where can they order them from?

Each young writer is being given a copy.  Further copies are available priced £6 plus p&p.  Please email or call on 07771 981094.

TJ and KEAP launch Writers’ Block Anthology

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Ideas from the Attic… a look back

Ideas from the Attic…a look back on all that happened.

A festival of ideas, where they come from and how they are developed, inspired by director, designer, theatre maker, visionary and artistic director of Wildworks, Bill Mitchell, took place in April. The impact and development it had on many peoples thoughts, minds and creative practices is immeasurable. 

Enjoy the photos and feedback that follows.

– Just the most inspirational event I have had the pleasure of attending. Process, objects, ideas, talking, sharing and moving too.

– Amazing opportunity to think outside the box (no pun intended!). It made my brain fizz in a way it hasn’t for quite a while.

– I’ve been hugely inspired by the substance and the spirit of this whole weekend, the generous – but firm! – encouragement to play with objects, ideas, images and words to draw out stories and find connections. Thank you!

– Really exciting weekend. Taking writing off the page and making it a multimedia process. It gave me new creative processes for my writing.

– So glad I came. So many resonances in Bill’s remarkable work – and so many interesting and affirming conversations with like-minded folk. Thank you. I wish I had known him

Many thanks to Photographer Neal Megaw for the festival photos.

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Cornwall Music Education Hub

Led by Cornwall Council, the Hub is made up of over 40 partners and supporting organisations all working together to support music education for young people in Cornwall. This website provides an insight into their current activities and how you can get involved.

Cornwall Music Education Hub

As projects develop they have exciting news about the Hub films which are now all available on the Hub’s YouTube channel – .  Discover the wonderful work, activities and creations that are taking place.


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KEAP is now a strategic partner with Cornwall Council

Cornwall Council has awarded a series of grants to support cultural organisations and venues across Cornwall.

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Word is The Writers’ Block works

Over 80 children from local primary, secondary and home-education groups have been the first to explore the inspiring world of The Writers’ Block.

The first cohort taking part in the five-week writing course has included pupils from Brannel, Grade Ruan, Penponds, St Martin’s-in-Meneage and Troon. It’s been wonderful to watch these young writers find their feet and valuable, at this early stage, to have a mixture of children. We have a group that’s been very focused on boys writing and we’re working with Keskowethyans MAT, who have brought several children from a number of schools.

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The Writer’s Block is essentially an inspirational writing space made up of different rooms, installations and immersive experiences created from all arts disciplines, including music and sound. All of the artworks, sculptures and sound installations have been designed specifically to inspire writing and cultivate writing confidence.

Professional writers and educationalists Becca Gregson, Rob Lane, Joe Lewis, Annamaria Murphy and Wyl Menmuir have been leading our first series of courses,  gently coaxing and encouraging participants to see themselves as young writers from the outset.

From the moment they set foot in the building they were called writers, that is how they are regarded, that is how they are spoken to and that is how they now see themselves” comments Ellie Watkins from St Martin’s-in-Meneage.

Joe Lewis Low Res

As part of our on going talent development programme, funded by ACE, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Ernest Cook and Garfield Weston,  KEAP have recruited performers, creative directors and emerging workshop leaders to join The Writer’s Block team as trainees. Observing and teaching alongside the course leaders is providing valuable training opportunities and professional development to a number of our Story Republicans, emerging Cornish writers, workshop leaders and creatives
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Feedback from the first writing course has been extremely positive with teachers and support staff commenting that the CPD has been the best training they’ve had since leaving college or graduating as teachers. For some, the children’s development and growth in writing confidence has been powerfully overwhelming.

Have a listen…

TAN13294-low res

Places are still available for next term and we can offer half or whole day workshops and immersion sessions if that better suits your school or group.  If you would like to find out more about the course, workshops and other sessions we offer contact:

Amanda Harris         07712 331421  (Monday to Thursday)

Helen Reynolds         07771 981094  (Mon, Weds, Fri)

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Update on Enhanced Disclosure DBS check requirements for artists

Updated June 2017.

In September 2012 the government issued a new definition of what is deemed ‘regulated activity with children’. Most school or educational settings will require anyone who undertakes regulated activity with children to have an Enhanced Disclosure with barred list check (formerly CRB checks, now DBS checks).

The new definition of regulated activity relating to children relates both to what activity you are doing and also how often you are doing it:

(i) Unsupervised activities: teach, train, instruct, care for or supervise children, or provide advice/guidance on well-being, or drive a vehicle only for children;

(ii) Work for a limited range of establishments (‘specified places’), with opportunity for contact: for example, schools, children’s homes, childcare premises. Not work by supervised volunteers

Work defined above is only regulated activity if done regularly i.e. carried out by the same person frequently (once a week or more often), or on 4 or more days within a 30-day period, or overnight.

There are three types of check which are undertaken by the DBS:

Standard checks: These are suitable for eligible roles that do not involve regular contact with children or vulnerable groups such as finance or security.

Enhanced checks: These are suitable for eligible roles where the applicant will be working/volunteering with children, young people and/or vulnerable groups.

Enhanced with DBS Barred List checks: These are suitable for roles where the applicant will be working/volunteering in a regulated activity (see paragraph above) with children and / or vulnerable adults.

Practical application of the above: 

If your work with children is paidfrequent and supervised, then you are likely to need an Enhanced Disclosure, but without the barred list check.

If your work with children is frequent and unsupervised then you will need an Enhanced Disclosure with a barred list check.

There is a very useful tool on the DBS site which allows you to see if the role you are undertaking requires a DBS check, and at what level

Note that ‘supervision’ does not necessarily mean a member of school staff will be with you at all times. Supervision must be: regular, day to day, reasonable in all the circumstances for the purpose of protecting the children concerned and carried out by someone who is engaging in regulated activity relating to children.

It is important to note that because schools are listed as ‘specified places’ under regulated activity, they are allowed to request an Enhanced Disclosure without barred list check for anyone who is working in their establishment even if not undertaking regulated activity. It is our experience that most schools do request this.

Useful links and documents:

Keeping Children Safe in Education July 15 – paragraphs 50-55 Safer Recruitment, p30 flowchart on who requires a DBS check and the type, paragraphs 83-89 for volunteers, paragraphs 91-94 for contractors (e.g. artists)

A useful leaflet created for the Disclosure and Barring roadshow is available here DBS Roadshow 2012 leaflet

A DBS elegibility handiguide created by SAFE to help you decide if a role requires a DBS check.

If after reading the above information, you do require a DBS check, KEAP may be able process one for you if you are an artist living and working in Cornwall, the cost is £56. However, it is preferable that the school or organisation requesting that you obtain a DBS check process it for you.

If you require further information please contact Helen Reynolds on


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