As we begin to pack up our desks for the festive break we have been reflecting on another fantastic year here at Settle Stories and we thought it was time to say a few thank yous.
Thank you for being a part of our story this year. It's been an amazing one. We held the largest Settle Stories Festival which was our best ever attended and outperformed all of the Arts Council's quality metrics in terms of artistic quality. We accelerated our year round events in 2018 now we're established in our venue, The Joinery in the rural Yorkshire Dales. What a difference it has made having our own space! We have continued to bring the very best of the arts to our rual community and have been fortunate to welcome some amazing storytellers and artists to Settle such as Adverse Camber and Alfie Moore. We also opened the Listening Gallery through restoring an old phone box in central Settle. With this new attraction we can now offer locals and visitors alike the opportunity to experience stories 365 days a year for free.
Our outreach work has continued to reach more people. Through our work in schools we reached 6,500 young people and celebrate events like Black History Month. 2018 has seen us reach more diverse audiences than ever before. Through tailored outreach work we ran a back to work programme to help participants share their stories and boost their confidence whilst learning new skills. We reached teenage boys through Rap & Grime Workshops enabling them to express their views on the world. Through our public courses and retreats we used story to help people change the way they see the world, get more from it and give more to it.
We couldn't have done this without you. You who bought a raffle ticket, you who came to a show, you who made a donation!
We would also like to take a moment to thank all of the volunteers that power Settle Stories. Our volunteers support us from across the globe, helping us to write blogs, helping with graphic design and in person here in Settle. Don't forget Settle Stories is a safe space that welcomes everybody and our diverse range of volunteers (of all ages) reflects this. We'd like to thank our amazing board of Trustees who volunteer their time and contribute endlessly to the ever growing beast that is Settle Stories. We'd also like to say a huge thank you to all the staff, artists, storytellers and freelancers who made our year as amazing as it was. Our work would not have been possible without the financial support of Arts Council England, Big Lottery Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund and of course and all of the trusts and foundations that believe in our work and support us.
We have very exciting plans for 2019. We will be working to reduce loneliness in older people in this community, continuing to bring the best of the arts to our rural audience and extend our audience using digital technology with events such as our World Storytelling Day 2019 (you really can't miss it) and launching our first ever Google Expedition.
We'll be planning the next Settle Stories Festival (17-19 April 2020) so please make sure you save the date. There's so much in the pipeline, so watch this space.
2019 will be a year in which story will continue to be central to everything we do. The power of story, the impact it has on lives will motivate us. We've got a feeling 2019 is going to be better than ever.
NOW, with all that said and done we'd like to share an interactive story with you - Down the Rabbit Hole - enjoy this on Boxing Day perhaps. Our gift to you, we so hope you enjoy it and do feel free to share it with your friends and let us know what you thought. Use the hashtag #findalice on social media.
All the very best for Christmas and the New Year,
Sita, Charles and all at Settle Stories
P.S. We'd love you to be part of our 2019. Why not check out our newly announced 2019 Jan-March events programme?