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Poor outcomes and life chances for children and young people are associated strongly with social disadvantage and we endeavour to provide services that seek to break such cycles.
We actively work to engage and inspire children and young people across Fife, recognising that attainment levels, literacy and aspirations are the bedrock of enabling young people to realise their potential.
Our services are built around people and communities; working with children, young people, and their families, across all ages, adopting a universal early intervention approach to try and reach a wide spectrum of the population.
From toddlers to teenagers, we strive to connect through the performances and activities we run across our venues and communities, aiming to capture imaginations and ensure that those who engage with us remain engaged with our services for years to come.
School demand is growing for the Trust to offer Film Screenings for Schools to support best-selling book studies. In response we screened Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, War Horse and new additions to our programme, A Monster Calls and Wonder. Over the seven screenings in this year, we attracted audiences of 2,600 and drew in income in excess of £11,000 and secured fiction issues of over 600 books. Our screenings of the bestselling book Wonder were particularly successful with four sold-out shows over two days attracting 1,800 children. Pupils and teachers alike loved the film and we have another two packed shows planned for May 2018.
“The film was amazing and I sobbed throughout most of it, as did many of my pupils.”
February 2018 saw us celebrate the finale of 10 years of Big Book Brains Quiz with P6 pupils across Fife. This project which is loved by pupils, teachers and our staff engaged 122 Fife schools this year, with 3,986 children reading around 19,930 books. Looking back over the decade, we estimate over 27,000 children have now taken part, discovering enjoyment in reading that will hopefully last a lifetime.
During 2017 – 2018 we ran 25 Code Club sessions with 214 children across 11 libraries. We trained 33 Code Club leaders and participated in Grab a Grown Up during National Coding Week. In addition, our first ever Digi:day was held at Kirkcaldy Galleries in October 2017. This was a free event, attended by 51 children and 10 adults. Aimed to showcase or growing digital offer, those that attended enjoyed taster sessions in Code Clubs, micro: bits, digital storytelling and Grid Club.
Over 10 weeks from 19 February to mid-May 2018, 306 S1 pupils were challenged to read three of a possible nine shortlisted books and vote for their favourite. The shortlist was diverse – there were easy reads, a picture book, a graphic novel, action-packed adventure, magic, whimsy and football – there was a book for everyone! To facilitate this, Fife Libraries provides a full time member of staff to the project and 50+ copies of each title. Competition prizes of 3 ASUS™ tablets have been offered to motivate participation in the process. To promote wider cultural engagement and celebrate the end of the project, we will bring the whole year group to a special screening the film of Wonder, one of the shortlisted books, at the Adam Smith theatre.
A further 5,893 children were entertained in our theatre spaces by a range of kids only shows throughout the year, from the intimate Puppet Animation Festival and Starcatchers productions to main auditorium hits like ‘Tiger Who Came to Tea’ and of course the popular Fun Box , which rolled into Adam Smith Theatre, Carnegie Hall and Rothes Halls.
We held five Christmas themed events in 2017, three in the Glenrothes area and two at Jennie Lee Library, Lochgelly. Those who attended made cards, decorations and rather impressive sock snowmen. These events proved popular with 38 children and 21 adults attending, giving us the incentive to offer additional Christmas activities for 2018.
Our first homegrown Summer Reading Challenge saw children across Fife sign up to join forces with our four animal characters – Blair the Beetle, Ula the Fox, Ralph the Rat and Pan the Meerkat and become Agents of B.U.R.P. 3,535 children signed up as reading agents, reading books, completing brain-bending puzzles, fortnightly challenges and end of stage missions. 79,703 junior books were issued over the eight week challenge period, with 689 new junior members signing up to their local library.
Alongside the Scottish Book Trust and the Scottish Professional Football League Trust (SPFLT) we launched a reading challenge to link football clubs and libraries in March 2018. The 4-4-2 Reading Challenge aims to encourage primary school-age children to read books from their local library – in exchange for free match tickets. Children are asked to read four books to receive a free ticket to a home game of a participating club, as well as a discounted adult ticket.
Raith Rovers, was the only Fife team taking part in this pilot year and we teamed up with them, and local schools and libraries in Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes, to launch the project with a press event at the Kirkcaldy Galleries with Raith Rovers players and Roary the Lion. We are working with Dundee Football Club and Dundee United to deliver 4-4-2 in The Tay Bridgehead area of Fife. An estimated 100 children are currently taking part in the project and we are pleased to be building such new partnerships to further promote the joy of reading to the region.
As part of the national Read Write Count initiative, the Young People’s Services Team launched the Bedtime Stories project. The project launched with sets of Gruffalo books for every library and a competition and expanded into several collections of bedtime themed book sets which parents were encouraged to borrow. The funding provided various sensory materials, including bubble tubes, cushions, a space projector and various other light up equipment which were used to create a soothing bedtime atmosphere at storytime sessions. This was trialled in Kirkcaldy Galleries with 5 sessions and a total of 42 participants over the period. This project will be rolled out to various libraries in 2018 – 2019.
The Chatterbooks children’s book groups’ service was launched in October 2016 and has steadily grown since then. Between April 2017 and March 2018, 306 boxes of books were borrowed by 46 schools across the region. A competition ran in the winter term of 2017 to celebrate the first anniversary of the service. As a result of this, three schools (Newport, North Queensferry and Thornton) won a visit from award winning writer, Ross MacKenzie during Book Week Scotland. Chatterbooks Champions then commenced in January 2018, where one school per term has the chance to work closely with one of our Young Person’s Supervisors to enhance their Chatterbooks experience, encouraging reading, discussion and activities based around their books.
Throughout the year we have continued to offer a selection of classes for children and young people across our venues. In Lochgelly Centre we work in partnerships with On The Runn Dance Productions to provide classes for ages 3yrs and up. The classes cover a whole a range of dance including jazz, street jazz, hip hop and cheerdance as well as creative choreography and contemporary. The tutors are fully trained and there to ensure that everyone has the best experience possible.
Meanwhile over in Adam Smith Theatre Saturday mornings are all about having fun while learning the basics of drama. There are two classes with our skilled tutors for ages 5 to 12 years. By using games and fun activities the children build their confidence, make new friends and learn to use their imaginations to create small performance pieces for each other.
We also support YMTS with their musical theatre classes for both juniors and seniors. These classes are for children and young people who enjoy singing, dancing and acting in equal measures as they use the session to rehearse a production which is performed at the end of the year.