At 4.15pm on Wednesday 10 July the curtain will fall on Inkpots After School Clubs.
It’s almost seven years since a seed of an idea grew into a business plan and the very first club opened its doors.
Since then over 1,000 children have been through Inkpots and there have been 3,500 club sessions, workshops and events.
So many stories have been written, pieces of art created, and videos made. We really got into making and utilising comics in our work. Numerous books have been read and countless children have been introduced to new authors. Long-lasting friendships have been forged at the clubs.
We have made up endless, rambling group stories. We’ve had so much fun. And eaten so much cake.
Self-confidence has soared.
Over the next week, I will be reflecting on what has been learned as well as how much has changed. (Inkpots will still be running, but there will be a range of different services.) So today is a time to say a goodbye to the clubs – and a few ‘thank yous’.
First of all, a huge thank you to all the headteachers who saw the vision and agreed to host an after-school club. A club cannot function without the support of the staff in a school’s office and we have been blessed with the help of some of the finest.
One of the joys of running Inkpots has been getting to know children’s authors, artists and cartoonists. Particular thanks go to Sophy Henn, Laura Ellen Anderson, Amy Wilson, Cressida Cowell and Abi Elphinstone. A particular highlight was when Nick Sharratt came to visit on possibly the hottest day of 2018! Thank you all for supporting Inkpots. Special mention must also go to The Comics Club blog and Comics Swap – you have helped support children to express themselves so many times. Getting to know my way around children’s books wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my friend Ali, who showed me the way all those years ago.
The families of our Inkpots are amazing. Thank you all for the support – in some cases for four years and beyond.
My own family has been constant, never questioning the dream even in the darkest of times. You’re total stars, Chris and Andy.
And finally thank you to all the children and young people who have been to Inkpots. Your creativity, generosity and kindness has been astonishing. Together we created something very special.
Once an Inkpot, always an Inkpot.