I help children and young people tell stories through words and pictures so that they can express themselves clearly and with confidence.
But it wasn’t always like this.
I arrived in my early 50s a worn out shell of my former self. I had my medals for single parenting but they weren’t much use any more as my two sons were at university and thriving – they both had discovered new worlds and new people and I was left behind. I was disillusioned with my job of 30 years as a publications editor. I toyed with going into teaching but some volunteering in a school proved that wasn’t for me. I sank into depression – not just a bit down but full blown, mind numbing stuff where I wanted to curl up in a corner and never move again.
Slowly, with the support of my sons and a great GP, I emerged – somewhat wobbly but at least wanting to live again – and live well. I started looking after myself, got fit and began volunteering as a youth worker with young offenders.
I also needed to sort my job so I went on a self employment refresher course to kick start my editorial work. But instead I started to find myself listening to the siren voices that said ‘you could do something new’. On 24 September 2012, smack bang in the middle of the course, I had a light bulb moment. I realised that what I really wanted to do was to work with children, helping them with their writing and to express themselves, getting feelings and emotions down on the page. (I still continue to edit and project manage publications though, so that all those years of training and experience don’t go to waste.)
But Inkpots was born!
I launched on 1 January 2013 and by that stage one school had signed up and I was off – I didn’t have a website or any financial backing but I did have ideas and enthusiasm!
Right from the start, I was very clear in my mind about the kind of support I wanted to offer. I had a fairly lonely childhood as the child of elderly parents but I had a marvellous mentor in a friend of my Dad’s – an amazing man who had run an underground newspaper as a prisoner of war in Japan in WW2. He shaped my future career and helped me believe in myself as a writer.
If ever I am worried about the developments at Inkpots, I refer back to whether my nine year old self would have felt at home.
I am passionate about supporting children to feel good about themselves. I really believe that writing and telling stories can help them deal with a sometimes confusing and complicated world. Bullying and hyper-competitiveness are not tolerated at Inkpots, nor is destructive criticism. Instead, we have fun, get outdoors as much as possible and support each other. In reality, I have very little to do to foster the happy atmosphere as it all comes from the children.
Inkpots is now home to 70 children who come to the after school clubs, holiday workshops, the group for older children and literacy support group. Each group is built on foundations of kindness and support and the aim that all the children and young people can relax and be themselves at Inkpots.
It’s now time for Inkpots to develop further and so we now have the Inkpots Inc online club, and you can read more about it here.
If you would like to talk to me about any of the groups in Sussex, Inkpots Inc – or anything book or literacy-related, just email me!
Thank you – and look forward to hearing from you soon.
mobile 07771 231563
Telephone 01444 239548
Gill is DBS-checked, fully insured and first aid trained. Her child protection training was provided by West Sussex County Council Youth Offending Service and West Sussex Police, and NSPCC. She is also a Reading Ambassador for The Publishers’ Association.
Gill studied creative writing at The University of Chichester and has had several text books published. As a publications editor, her clients have included Royal National Institute of Blind and Partially Sighted People, National Children’s Bureau, NSPCC and Children’s Country Holidays Fund, as well as smaller charities and community interest companies. Gill is currently writing her first children’s book.
We work very closely with Jane Prior of String Design to produce a range of materials featuring our distinctive logo and clear, easy-to-read layout. We regularly check out new materials with our users before publication – especially the children who come to the weekly workshops.
Our designs are proving to be so popular that we have started a range of merchandise, and we will are adding new items on a regular basis. For further details please visit the Inkpots Shop.