Spirit Marks the Mightiness of the Pen:

Spirit launches grant opportunity to give voice and new skills to young people

Today, we launch our Leading Voices grant opportunity. We are looking to fund a project that will inspire young people to take part and develop their skills in the verbal arts. 

By “verbal arts”, we mean activities which develop listening, reflective and expressive communication skills. These may include - but are not limited to - film-making, song-writing, story-telling, poetry and rap, drama, improvisation and debate.

April 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Using this event as the spark of inspiration, we want to fund a project that enables young people to engage with and creatively explore issues, emotions and themes. From Hollywood romcoms to Kate Tempest’s My Shakespeare spoken word piece to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet – Shakespeare’s power and appeal still resonates across the centuries.

So how will Leading Voices tap into this? We will award a grant to support young people from diverse backgrounds to confront and draw inspiration from the portrayal of universal themes so richly dramatised by Shakespeare.

We want them to explore and give voice to the diverse attitudes and behaviours that shape their lives and the social contexts in which they live; and extend their capacity to empathise with others and collaborate to produce high quality creative work.

We will award a single grant of up to £1 million for a project running over 2 – 3 years. Our target age range for Leading Voices is 11 – 25, and the successful project will engage a minimum of 400 regular participants over its life, outside of the formal academic curriculum. We hope that the creativity of the participants will reach out to wider audiences of all generations in inspiring and engaging ways. 

We expect the successful project to work in at least three regions across England, at least one of which must be in the East of England, East Midlands or West Midlands.

Dugald Mackie, Chair of Spirit of 2012 said:

“Leading Voices is an exciting opportunity to engage hundreds of young people in the exploration and representation of universal and timeless themes. By using the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death as a catalyst to inspire young peoples’ creativity, we continue to champion the London 2012 Games’ promise to ‘inspire a generation’. We look forward to receiving the applications.”

Visit the Leading Voices page of our website to download an information pack and expression of interest application form.

The deadline for submitting an expression of interest is 5pm on Wednesday 30th September 2015.

To contact us with any questions about this grant opportunity, please write to leadingvoices@spiritof2012trust.org.uk.