We are thrilled to have been awarded the Best Lockdown Project at the Museums Change Lives Awards in recognition of our work to support disadvantaged children and families in Newcastle during the first national lockdown.

We collaborated with community and education partners across East End Newcastle to deliver a programme that entertained children and supported families to play, read and be creative together.

Together with Barnardo's Community Family Hub East, Food Nation and 'Byker Best Summer Ever' project led by Byker Community Trust, we offered 14 digital storytimes, 35 doorstep storytelling performances, 367 books, 345 lockdown storypacks, family activity packs, 600 hot meals and 225 recipe packs to 126 families in Byker. We also worked with Byker Primary School and St Lawrwence's RC Primary School to provide 28 digital storytimes and story-inspired activities for use with keyworker children and families schooling at home.

The resources and activities aimed to support those families who would be disproportionately affected by the national lockdown and support positive mental health, wellbeing and resilience during uncertain times.

Organised by the Museums Association, The Museums Change Lives Awards celebrates the achievements of museums that are making a difference to the lives of their audiences and communities across the UK.

Esmee Ward, Director of Manchester Museum and judge for Museums Change Lives Awards 2020 said: “The judges love pretty much everything about this project. You really got the sense of a museum that is connected to the needs of its communities. They acted quickly and thoughtfully to support local families with literacy, home schooling and they did that both online and on the doorstep via storytelling sessions. What we really loved as well is that they worked in partnership with multiple organisations and businesses. They were not only delivering literacy, books and resources but also linked this to food and recipe packs, gardening inspirations and much, much more. In spite of a small budget their impact was far reaching and felt right across Byker. Many congratulations, Seven Stories are worthy winners!” 

We're immensely proud of this work and its impact. And as the nation prepares for a second lockdown we are expanding this work further to empower even more children and young people to understand their world and imagine their future.

Thanks to our funders Arts Council England, Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, BBC Children in Need, Well NewcastleGateshead and St Nicholas' Educational Trust who make this valuable work possible.