Clubhouse will play role in Literary Festival

Members of Hunter Lodge with the team creating the new storytelling garden

Members of Hunter Lodge with the team creating the new storytelling garden

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A NEW storytelling garden at a clubhouse which helps disabled people will play an important role in Wigan’s

biggest literature festival this month.

The garden at Hunter Lodge, in Marsh Green, will play host to a series of story-telling and poetry sessions with three local writers during the Words 2012 festival, the borough’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word.

The garden, which has been built in partnership with Greenheart, Groundwork and The Prince’s Trust, will also be officially opened during the festival, which begins on April 9.

Hunter Lodge works with people who have suffered physical disability, brain injury and sensory impairment and helps them regain their independence and move on with their lives by getting them back into employment or training.

The clubhouse was recommended for the garden by Vicky Fletcher of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust

(WLCT), who organises the Dis:Patches Festival which the Lodge has previously been involved with.

Vicky said: “We have worked with Hunter Lodge for the past six years developing disability arts projects but this is the first time we have done an environmental arts project.

There is such great scope for other arts projects with the garden in place.”

The garden will also get plenty of use after the festival, with members of the lodge getting involved in maintaining the space and using the facility for their summer reading group, which currently takes place indoors.

Development worker Nicola Swift said: “The garden will be fabulous when it’s completed. The successful Shadows to Light drama project here last year has given us the confidence to try new things.”

Words 2012 Co-ordinator Gillian Forrester said: “It was great to come here and be inspired by the members and the staff at Hunter Lodge.

“They had a vision from the start that they knew would benefit their members. They asked for a small area for one-to-ones and they helped us carry through the plans in time for the festival.”

Words 2012 runs from April 9 to 21, with a host of paying and free events, including a visit from award-winning novelist Sarah Waters, a play by Willpower Youth Theatre about the sinking of the Titanic, and events dedicated to poet Wilfred Owen.

There will also be showcases of local authors’ work, masterclasses with literary talent, and newcomers’ sessions to help writers unlock their inner muses. For more information, visit the Leisure and Culture Trust website or phone 01942 828227.