Stories are special. Whether it’s the ‘just one more’ story that’s begged for at toddler bedtimes across the country, the angst-filled young adult novel that gets you through your torturous teenage years because the characters understand your pain when nobody else can, or the childhood favourites that we revisit as adults whenever life gets too complicated to deal with. (Narnia, Potter - we’re looking at you. Thank you.)
Stories have a power that nothing else can touch, and we love them.
Which is why, as part of our tenth birthday celebrations, we are utterly delighted to announce that we are the first Corporate Fellow of the 1001 Stories Quest at the Story Museum in Oxford.
This extraordinary project is part of the £6 million transformation of the museum which will, by 2020, have ten amazing new spaces - including a whispering wood, a treasure chamber and an enchanted library. (It’s not just us that get slightly giddy at the thought of an enchanted library, surely?)
Their Quest has been designed with the aim of enriching young lives through the magic of fiction. To that end they are collecting great stories, 1001 of them, which works out at roughly one a week from birth to the age of 18. These have been nominated by experts (including plenty of children) and are being gathered up to be shared at the museum, online and in the school and community projects throughout the year.
We know how important stories are. How they enable us to develop language and imagination, reasoning and empathy. The way that they can take us to places we could never normally reach, and leave us with a greater understanding of people who we could never normally meet. How they can inspire us and provide an escape from the grind of everyday life.
And yet, ‘word poverty’ is a growing problem, with the government estimating that one in six UK adults have literacy levels below what would be expected of an eleven year old. Engaging children and young people with stories is vital to changing these statistics - and that’s where the magic of the Story Museum comes into its own - encouraging children to develop a love of story and of words, which will fire their imagination, raise their aspirations and provide them with access to myriads of new worlds and experiences.
We’re right behind them, and beyond delighted to be a part of this exciting project. They only need another £300,000 in order to complete their transformation - and if you’d like to help them along, the link is here: https://1001storiesquest.storymuseum.org.uk/
Watch this space for more information about our partnership with the Story Museum team - in the meantime we’ve found a wardrobe full of fur coats that’s just waiting to be explored. We’ll see you on the other side.