On 6th July we are inviting 46 young people and their teachers from across the UK to join the crew of the HMS Adventure for a weekend of sea-faring themed adventures. 

It is estimated that in the UK, one in five young people leave primary school with a reading age lower than expected. In fact, 5% of these 11 year old pupils do not have a reading age higher than that of a 7 year old. 

We use adventure to provide an inspirational environment for young people to improve their independent reading and writing, and in turn their literacy skills. Participants will take part in a day of creative writing workshops before  spending a memorable night on board the HMS Belfast, moored on the River Thames. 

On 4th April we will be launching a crowdfunding campaign in support of the event and would love our friends to get involved. From the 4th, donations can be made at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hms-adve...

Why is literacy so important? 

Lack of literacy skills is a barrier to learning, not just in English, but in subjects across the curriculum. If children do not have sufficient reading skills before leaving primary school, the gap between those with a firm grasp of literacy and those without widens rapidly.

Reading and writing are not only important for the technical skill, but for the softer skills it develops. As well as improved academic attainment, young readers are more likely to have higher levels of empathy, be able to develop mature relationships and use reading to help make sense of the world. In fact, children who are most engaged with literacy are three times more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than children who are the least engaged.

What exactly is the HMS Adventure? 

Five groups of young people from primary schools across the country, each with 40%+ pupil premium students, will be selected to travel to London to join the crew of the HMS Adventure. That’s 46 young people, plus their teachers, to help us take reading and writing out of the classroom and turn it into an adventure.

The teachers will identify pupils for whom they believe participating will have the greatest impact.

Upon arrival, each shipmate will participate in a selection of creative writing activities, themed around different aspects of sea-faring history before reporting to the Captain of the HMS Belfast at 6pm. Here, they will secure their bunks in the mess decks, and report for duty.

The crew will experience what life was like living onboard a warship, explore the Flag Deck and Captain’s Bridge, learn semaphore and the roles of the signallers, before looking out at the London skyline at night. After all, it is the same Tower Bridge that sailors from the 1800s would have sailed under.

After breakfast the next day, the crew will make themselves shipshape before reporting for their final task, a learning session to discover the stories of the individual men who lived and work onboard. After donning their civvies, each shipmate will be tasked with writing a short story featuring the lives of one of the men we’ve learned about. The most creative will be shared in a special newsletter from the Foundation. 

Why are we the ones organising this? 

We are a charity on a mission to promote literacy and support writers, while advancing adventure writing as a genre. We have worked with young people in the classroom and helped writers as young as 12 to have their short adventure stories published. Adventure is our bag. And we are the only people using it in a unique way to improve literacy.

Why should you get involved? 

Do you remember the feeling of the first book you couldn’t put down? Did it make you pick up another book and continue your reading journey? Do you still have a copy on your bookshelves today? 

We want to inspire these 10-11 year olds to go away and do their own independent reading, to find out what that book is for them, and to try their hand at writing their own adventure. If you remember that feeling, we'd love you to help us pass it on to the next generation. 

How will the money raised be spent? 

Once upon a time, a sailor from Hull would have spent a whole week walking to London to seek a position to make a living, or maybe their fortune. These days, we are lucky to be able to make the same journey in under 3 hours by train. All funds raised will go directly towards the young crew, covering their travel to London, subsistence and accommodation for the weekend and to help our workshop leaders deliver the most adventurous, memorable activities.

We have already secured funding to cover the administration to organise the weekend, so all money raised will directly support the young people taking part. As readers and adventurers yourself, we’d like as many of you to join us in taking these young people on their own adventure. ALL ABOARD! 

You will be able to make a donation at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hms-adve... from 4th April 2019.