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The RLF’s work in the social sector is part of its public education programme. These projects seek to nurture community and individual resilience, engagement and empowerment. Professional writers work with individuals and groups to:

  • support understanding of how language and written communication impact on self and others;
  • develop skills in making life-meanings through reading, writing and conversation;
  • create new and purposeful connections within and across communities of interest or location.

Social sector projects seek to encourage participants’ sense of identity, location and belonging, and focus on individuals and groups who often experience social exclusion or isolation. This includes among others individuals from ‘marginalised’ groups; people who have experienced neglect, abuse or trauma; older people; people experiencing mental health issues; those involved with the criminal justice system either as perpetrators or victims of crime; military veterans.

Projects have included:

  • round table reading and discussion groups with vulnerable migrants, refugees and asylum seekers;
  • a discussion and writing group with women whose partners are in prison;
  • reflective writing with young offenders;
  • expressive writing and discussion groups with people recently released from prison;
  • reflective writing groups with young LGBTIQ+ people;
  • writing for wellbeing with local community groups and residents.

We have also supported better writing in the workplace, working with employees in the NHS, a trade union life-long learning hub and children’s charities.

Underpinning Principles
RLF social sector projects aim to:

  • foster public education in writing and reading;
  • initiate original ways for writers to engage learners outside conventional creative writing orthodoxies;
  • support personal and community change;
  • work with a wide range of people in different locations across the nations and regions of the UK and with different types of organisations and client groups;
  • offer writing and reading groups that draw on diverse literary reference points;
  • promote positive images and challenge stigma;
  • operate in a spirit of respect and equality.

Every project is developed in close collaboration with a host organisation so that we can combine their needs with our expertise to create a project that offers fresh and inspiring approaches to reading and writing.

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From participants

‘I have grown over the 6 weeks. It has really made a difference to me personally. It has given me power and peace. I have been able to let go.’

‘It has helped to boost me up. Most important, I learnt writing. I was struggling with writing before. Now I am able to write a bit. I am still learning.’

‘It has given me a positive environment to grow and learn. Removes me from the isolation I am currently experiencing, helping me to connect to other people.’

‘The writing has benefitted me with confidence and speaking skills. I feel that I have changed for the better and my imagination has become more active.’

‘It was fun because I like being creative, relevant because it applies to what I’ve been feeling and interesting because I now know I’m not alone. I enjoyed it. Very freeing.’

‘It has helped me to write better and have more confidence in myself.’

From host organisations

‘The sessions have helped the clients be even more supportive and empathetic towards each other and they have provided a space to talk at a distance about their own lives, yet at the same time be open and honest.’

‘The project gave the members a positive sense of their identities and they reported feeling differently about the extremely difficult events in their lives, overall seeming to find it empowering and enlightening to look at their biography from a different perspective or with a new outcome.’

‘…these sessions have contributed to helping the women gain more confidence to share their personal story, grow stronger in being able to handle constructive feedback, learn new skills, be imaginative, discover their creativity and intellectual rigor and generally heal themselves.’

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