Happy (belated) birthday, Your Majesty

Happy (belated) birthday, Your Majesty

As I’m writing about recent work I have done, this project seems timely… A few months ago, Scripture Union’s team in the south east of England approached me about writing for the Queen! They were working with Hope, LICC and Bible Society to create a schools’ version of a resource to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. I was sent the text of the book that Hope, LICC and Bible Society had written and asked to select material and write extra bits and pieces to put together a 12-page booklet for people to use in primary schools.

The book focused on the text of the Queen’s Christmas messages over the years. We don’t know much about the Queen’s opinions on politics, as she tries to remain neutral, but her Christmas messages are one of the few things that she writes herself and they clearly show one part of her life: her faith. It was this that the partner organisations were seeking to help people uncover as the Queen reached this milestone birthday.

It was quite a task to slim down all the excellent material that the authors of the main book had written, but arranging some of the most interesting facts, stories and photographs into three or four different categories helped everything fall into place. I added in some questions to help children think about these different categories for themselves, as well as selecting extracts from the messages themselves. Throw in some great infographics from the designer and the book looks quite good. In fact, it seems to have gone down so well that a reprint is on the way!

If you want to get your hands on the book (celebrations go on into June), then go to Scripture Union’s website. And if you’ve got a similar job that needs doing, get in touch!

What can Creative Daydream do for you?

What can Creative Daydream do for you?

OK, it’s been a while. I haven’t blogged for a few months, so I’m back! I thought it was high time that I wrote about some projects I have recently worked on, so that you had some idea of what I could do for you!

The last six months have been busy, with a wide range of projects making their way onto my desk…

Project managing an exhibition stand: over the past two years, I have put together the concept and graphics for Scripture Union‘s exhibition stand at the Hand in Hand Conference, and then used those to create stands for other exhibitions too. 2016 was no different and, in early February, I made my way to Eastbourne with a mix of new and repurposed graphics stands, leaflets and giveaways. Over the weekend, I also worked on the stand and it was great to talk to children’s workers from across the country. One of the resources the stand was promoting was…

Guardians of Ancora: my writing of this ground-breaking Bible reading game app for children has continued. I’ve been part of the team for about three years now and it’s great to see the game in action. Recent work has included writing scripts for the Easter parts of the game as well as putting together lots of back story to appear on the revamped Guardians of Ancora supporting website.

Editorial project management: it’s been good to work with a former colleague, Nina Marcel, on resources produced by Christian Education. I was brought in to help out with ongoing projects, RE Ideas and Essential RE, while Nina focused on an enormous, brand new series of RE resources for schools.

Rewriting a training course: over the past two years, I have delivered a training course in children’s ministry for the Diocese of London. This year, it was decided that the course needed a revamp, to include new elements and reshuffle the existing new ministry. So, I rewrote the material, created new PowerPoint presentations and handouts, and then delivered the new course to the good children’s workers of Neasden. That course proved invaluable in refining the new parts of the material. Onward to courses in Twickenham, Shadwell, Chelsea and Tottenham!

Writing a magazine column: in 2016, the magazine of the Mother’s Union, called Families First, features a column written by me! Being a single man with no children, this seems an unlikely choice, but it’s going well so far. Most of the columns seem to include focusing on my own ineptitude, but hopefully despite this, they will help to bridge the gaps that can often open up between single people and parents.

Premier Childrenswork: I’ve extended my time on Premier Childrenswork to include some commissioning and subbing work, on top of the writing responsibilities I’ve had for the past three years. It’s been enjoyable to get more involved in the work of this magazine.

If anything here makes you think I might be the right person for a job you need doing, then get in touch!

A tale of two hospices

A tale of two hospices

When you think about the word ‘hospice’, what images come to mind? A grey place where people go to die? A place of sadness, illness and overcooked cabbage? You wouldn’t be alone – these are certainly some of the things that I conjured up in the past.

But I want to tell you about a hospice. Well, two, actually. Children’s hospices. They are places where children and young people with life-limiting conditions go to be cared for and yes, perhaps to die. However, they aren’t drab, they aren’t depressing or oppressive and there isn’t even a whiff of overcooked cabbage.

Christopher’s in Guildford and Shooting Star House in Hampton together make up Shooting Star Chase. These two amazing places serve families across south-west London and Surrey, helping to manage the care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families. I provide editorial support to the charity (and even voice-over work) – I’ve just finished doing some editorial work on their supporter magazine and my head is full of the tough, but inspiring work that Shooting Star Chase puts in to make the lives of the families they work with immeasurably better.

They don’t only manage and care for the medical needs of children and young people, but their emotional and psychological needs too. Nurses and carers get to know a child’s likes and dislikes, their habits and comforts, as well as their medication and therapeutic requirements. Chefs, maintenance staff and volunteers strive to create an atmosphere of support, relaxation and fun. Social workers, care managers and support staff work hard to make sure children and young people get the best care possible.

I was lucky enough to visit Shooting Star House about a year ago, to see for myself the fantastic facilities, meet one or two of the care staff and even have a fine cup of tea from the creative kitchens. It was a privilege to see everything in action and a help to my editorial work for the charity, to have seen the facilities within which the stories are all set.

I’m writing this partly because my mind is buzzing with the stories of children, young people and families well cared for, but also because their story, and the stories of children’s hospices around the country, needs to be heard more widely. Financially, Shooting Star Chase only gets a tenth of what it needs from government funding, and so has to raise the remaining 90% itself. And when your care bill tops £10 million each year, that’s a big ask.

So, if you live in south-west London or Surrey, why not find out how you can support these two fine establishments? And if not, is there a children’s hospice near you that can make use of your time or money? That places like Shooting Star House and Christopher’s have to rely of charitable support is discomforting, but the work they put in to make the lives of children, young people and their families immeasurably better is worth every penny.

Highgate, Halloween and High-frequency High Jinx

Highgate, Halloween and High-frequency High Jinx

I’ve just realised how long it has been since I updated my blog, how very lazy of me. I have been quite busy, mind you, so that’s some sort of excuse. I thought I’d fill you in on the kind of things I’ve been getting up to. Who knows, maybe it might spark an idea that I could make happen for you!

In Highgate, I delivered my first full Academy Basics course for the Diocese of London. This was with a  bunch of willing and enthusiastic children’s workers from St Michael’s Church and surrounding parishes. I had a great time, exploring different aspects of working with children, and giving people a chance to try some new stuff out. One group came up with a Prodigal Son rap that deserves a wider audience – if only we’d filmed it! The Academy Basics course is for those who are at the start of their children’s ministry journey, and covers things like learning styles, storytelling and managing difficult behaviour. Later in the year, I’ve got more courses in Poplar, Kensal Rise and Fulham.

I’ve also put together part of a Halloween/Light Party resource pack for Scripture Union, commissioning writers and writing copy to help churches make intelligent use of Halloween. That comes out very soon, check it out here.

A new client, FEBA, brought the chance to work on some children’s resources and to create a radio character called Roger. It was good to work for them and to renew a working relationship with Simeon Whiting, another Christian charity worker turned freelancer. Look out for the FEBA pack soon on their website.

There’s been lots of other things happening – proofing fundraising and supporter communications for Shooting Star Chase, editing a book called @BibleIntro for Authentic Media, writing and commissioning blog posts for the Diocese of London as well as writing their children’s ministry newsletter, my ongoing work with Premier Childrenswork, compiling a youth book for BRF… the list is pleasingly varied 🙂

If you have anything that you think I might be able to help with, don’t hesitate to get in touch!