ALTON-based children’s creative writing group ‘Putting Pen to Paper’ is celebrating an award of £6,123 from The Big Lottery Fund.

The grant will enable the project to run for a fifth year, offering 120 places to help children develop their skills and confidence in literacy.

Putting Pen to Paper is a fun, inter-active and activity-packed creative writing group for seven to 11-year-olds run by children’s author Sarah Lucas and Kate Collins, a paediatric occupational therapist.

Caity, a pupil at The Butts Primary School in Alton, has attended several courses, learning to write stories, poems, scripts and keep a journal.

She said: “Going to Putting Pen to Paper has helped me to develop my writing skills hugely. I never thought I would ever like writing this much. I have found a passion I never would have found. We are really excited by the lottery money because we can use it for new resources.”

The project also runs a young mentoring scheme for children to return to the group as volunteers once they are at secondary school.

Kate Collins said: “The children love having the young mentors help them with their ideas and writing. They are great role models who can encourage and inspire the younger children. There’s also a lot of laughter which we love.”

The group attracts students from Alton College who volunteer, developing their own confidence and skills before they look for work or apply to university.

Putting Pen to Paper is now looking to expand into Whitehill and Bordon, and they are keen to hear from anyone living in this area who has a child struggling with literacy or who would like a fun, safe space outside of school where they can learn more about creative writing.

Putting Pen to Paper is a community, not-for-profit initiative currently running sessions on Saturday mornings at the Alton Maltings Centre. Courses last for six weeks.

For dates and more details, visit madaboutsnailbooks.com/pen-to-paper-courses, call Sarah Lucas on 01420 587351, or e-mail [email protected] boutsnailbooks.com.