All Hands on Deck to Create a New Sail For Unique Story Telling Boat

Schoolchildren from across the region are being given the chance to see their arty ideas incorporated into a north east cultural landmark as part of a new competition organised by Newcastle Building Society and Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books.

Children aged 11 years and under are being invited to design a new sail for the ‘Sea Song Sang’, the unique storytelling boat that is moored alongside Seven Stories in Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley.

The winning designs will be made into three real sails and hoisted on deck as part of refurbishments that are being carried on the boat in the aftermath of the floods that affected the area last summer.

As well as the winner seeing their sail on display in all its glory, their class will also get a Seven Stories Hooks into Books book pack, a VIP invitation to the launch event and a free class visit to Seven Stories.

Newcastle Building Society partnered with Seven Stories on the original design and creation of the Sea Song Sang as part of the award-winning Voyages arts and education programme, an initiative which involved well over 300 children, teachers, artists and parents over a three-year period, and has been a corporate supporter of the venue since it opened in 2005.

Seven Stories is the only museum in the UK wholly dedicated to the art of British children’s books, and was awarded National status by The Arts Council in September last year in recognition of the significance of its work.

Kate Edwards, chief executive at Seven Stories, said: “Sea Song Sang is one of our most popular exhibits. The boat arrived at Seven Stories just as we opened over seven years ago. It was designed and built from ideas put forward by children from nine schools across the Northeast through a project supported by Newcastle Building Society. The boat has grown up with us and is a well loved feature on the Ouseburn river.

It is great that children, once again, have the chance to put ideas forward for its new sails through this competition – we hope that children and teachers will draw on books and stories to inspire their creations. We are delighted to work with Newcastle Building Society on this project; partnerships between the private sector and cultural venues like ours are increasingly important and their continuing support is extremely valuable.”

Gillian Tiplady, head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Newcastle Building Society, adds: “Seven Stories is all about interaction and imagination and this is a very special opportunity for north east children to witness their ideas coming to life for everyone to see.

Our continuing involvement with Seven Stories reflects the importance that we, as a mutual organisation, place on supporting the communities in which we work, and we’re certain that there will be a wave of entries for this fantastic competition.

The competition is open to Early Years, Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 classes, and closes at 4pm on Sunday 17 March. For more information, and to download a design template on which to base competition entries, please visit click here


For further information please contact:
Natalie Falkous
Group Corporate Communications Manager Julian Christopher
Newcastle Building Society Footprint Public Relations
0191 244 2024 07891 005034

About Newcastle Building Society
Newcastle Building Society is the biggest building society in the North East, with more regional branches than any other Society and with assets of more than £4.4bn. Our primary focus is our members and we aim to provide a great range of mortgage, savings and insurance products, which is supported by excellent customer service. Additionally, we offer trusted financial advice through our experts within our Newcastle Financial Services Limited division.

NBS is committed to helping the wider community in a variety of ways and has donated more than £900,000 in grants to almost 900 groups in recent years. We also have a dedicated Charity of the Year, which our staff nominate, vote for and spend a 12-month period raising funds within, all to support the charity.