Finding inspiration for your Workshop funding application

Cressida Cowell talking in front of an audience of school children at Stirling Castle

We can't believe it's already November and almost time to award our exciting funding opportunities!  

Applications are open to all registered organisations for our Workshops Fund which offers funding to invite an author, illustrator, storyteller or poet to work with children and young people in your setting and to buy books or resources to make the most of your visit.  

Every type of organisation can get involved, with separate funding applications available for Primary schools, Secondary schools, Public libraries and Community groups.  

Whether you already have your project in mind or are still looking for an idea to promote reading for pleasure, we hope these tips and success stories will give you some inspiration for your application! 

Watch author events to see what's possible 

If you've never held an author event before, you might not be sure what is involved. To help give you an idea of what is possible, take a look at our Author Directory which lists a range of practitioners and the types of workshops they can offer. From a talk on representation and inclusivity with award-winning author Elle McNicoll to a live drawing comics workshop with Neil Slorance, there's a huge variety of events to choose from.  

Remember that we are here to help you, and our Outreach team can offer support and guidance in finding an author you wish to work with. 

Link to an existing project 

Author and illustrator events are a fantastic way to encourage reading for pleasure, create a buzz about stories and inspire keen and reluctant readers alike. However, your visit doesn't need to be a one-off event! There are many ways to increase impact by linking your themes in with an existing project.  

Last year our application panel loved Preston Lodge High School's whole-school nurture approach using environmental themes across the curriculum to support mental health and wellbeing. Their librarian proposed a series of outdoor author workshops to increase pupil affinity with the natural world and create a communal poem which could later be turned into a school mural. 

Can't hold an in-person event? Go digital! 

Hopefully this year you can host in-person events in your setting but if an external visit still seems unlikely or difficult to plan, your young people don't need to miss out – you can specify in your application that you would like a digital event.  

Our experience of digital author visits has been very positive, with great feedback from the schools and authors involved. Connecting with your author online means you could include several year groups at once or invite another organisation to link up virtually and share the experience together. 

A class teacher at Armadale Academy loved A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll so much that they applied for a virtual event with the author, linking across the history curriculum to talk about witchcraft in Scotland and inviting their Council Heritage Department along to share stories of some very local witches. 

Connect with the wider community 

Consider your individual setting and wider community and make sure to share this unique context with us in your application. If your school is focused on improving family learning, or your library is building back a community after the pandemic lockdowns, let us know! A few details can go a long way to shape your delivery and help us get to know you and the young people you are working with. 

Cumbernauld Library impressed us with their community outreach project to improve library attendance for young people across their local authority. They planned to work with local debut author Priscilla Mante to build a new connection between their mobile library and a nearby sports and leisure facility, inspired by the story of a girls' football league in Pricilla's book. 

Listen to your young people 

Often the best ideas come directly from the young people themselves. When creating and supporting a positive reading culture, consider what the group you are working with are most interested in. If your project has come from your reading ambassadors, pupil librarians or community requests then let us know and share their stories with us. 

Coatbridge High School noticed increased borrowing of Manga and graphic novels from their library and in response to this developed a project that would encourage reluctant readers and stimulate interest in designing their own books. After using funds to run a bespoke comic creation workshop, they planned to set up a regular comic and Manga club at the request of pupils. We loved that their project would springboard a requested activity for them throughout the year! 

Go for it! 

If you're thinking about applying, our final tip is to go for it! While we can't fund every project, we would love to consider yours and help bring the power of an author or illustrator visit to the children you work with. Our funds have reached children in over 200 organisations across Scotland, and yours could be next!  
Applying is easy, with our online form available straight from your dashboard. If you have any questions or need some advice on your application, you can get in touch by email at and we'll be happy to help. 

The deadline for applications for all funds is Thursday 17 November 2022.  

Best of luck, everyone! 

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