A storyteller from South Belfast has been awarded funding to roll out her cross community verbal arts project to six Northern Ireland schools.
Liz Gough, a former teacher, is the first person to be awarded in the newly launched over 50’s funding programme that is delivered by the social entrepreneur charity Unltd. The funding is specifically designed to benefit those projects that are wholly managed by volunteers.
Using her previous teaching experience, the funding will enable Mrs Gough to work with up to 500 children in three inner city schools and three rural schools.
She said: “I am absolutely over the moon at being given the opportunity by Unltd to work on the progress that I achieved during my pilot traditional story scheme.
“Stories are the clothes-horse we hang the garments of our lives on. I feel its important to deliver these traditional tales in a contemporary way so that people new to them can fully understand the meaning they have on our culture and our lives —so they are not lost as society moves on.”
Children will have the chance to learn about the captivating story of Silkie, a Ulster tale of a fisherman who falls in love with a seal who transforms by night, along with her fellow clan, into the most beautiful women that ever existed.
Versions of the story have been adapted over time by fishing villages as far away as Iceland
It is hoped the children from Catholic, Protestant and ethnic minority backgrounds, will develop an understanding of different cultures and work together to unravel this traditional tale that has been spoken on our shores since early times.
The story is the first in a series of five captivating tales — it is hoped that all five will be delivered to children in this way.
The project is also an exciting collaboration with prominant Ulster artist Rita Duffy who has created all the images to sit alongside the story.
Mrs Gough, also an established creative writer, has wrote for radio and has had one of her previous publications ‘Tales to tell your Daughter’ shown on RTE. Her main reason she is to give back what she received from her community.
“If it wasn’t for the P6 teacher I had, I don’t know if I would have taken this creative journey. She instilled in me a love of story, a love of art and a love of music,” she continued.
“I am grateful for the life I have now and I feel it only right to try and pass on this passion in whatever way I can.”
If your school is interested in taking part in the next tale from the series, please contact Mrs Gough on 07590903424.