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The Festival of Stories to bring eco-friendly messages to life

19 February 2024

The third Festival of Stories will bring another exciting programme of storytelling events to families of children from birth to five across Cambridgeshire this February.

Top children’s authors and storytellers are joining the festival from 21–28 February 2024 at a range of Cambridgeshire venues to help families of young children learn more about the importance of caring for our planet.

Following last year’s successful events, this festival will include over 90 in-person and online storytelling events across the county, including interactive activities such as litter picking, treasure hunts, nature trails, and crafts using recycled materials.

Many of these events will be held in partnership with Cambridgeshire Child and Family Centres, Cambridgeshire Libraries, Cambridgeshire Skills, Cambridgeshire Sensory Support Team, Barnardo’s and local community groups.

The Festival of Stories is organised by Talking Together in Cambridgeshire, which was launched by Cambridgeshire County Council’s Early Years Childcare and School Readiness Service in 2018.

Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People Committee, said: “It’s wonderful to see so many of our partners reuniting for another Festival of Stories.

“Educating young children about caring for our planet is more important than ever, and the engaging storytelling on offer at this festival will encourage them to carry these messages with them as they grow up.”

Marion Leeper, one of the storytellers supporting the festival, commented: “The Festival of Stories is a great opportunity to devise a story specially for families, and based on their everyday experience – spotting litter by the road as they walk along.

“Storytellers often say, ‘You have to tell a story to get a story’ and everyday stories like these encourage so many stories in response – the stories that every family tells with their children, the little, ordinary events that make memories to bind a family together.”

The aim of the Festival of Stories is to work together with families to help young children better understand the world we live in while boosting their communication, language, and literacy skills through the magic of stories.

This year’s Festival of Stories will focus on ‘Caring For Our Planet’, an extension of the Early Years, Childcare and School Readiness Service’s ‘Our Best World’ project to help meet Cambridgeshire County Council's commitment to Net Zero carbon emissions by 2045.

The festival’s theme is summarised by the three Rs:

  • Reconnect - Encouraging parents to know the names of different common bugs which might be found in the garden or park as this is a first step in children learning to care for wildlife.
  • Reuse - Using household waste items to create bug homes, and games/toys for little ones too, i.e., sock puppets, or pom-pom runs. Other ideas include book swaps, clothing swaps and repair cafes.
  • Recycle - Doing litter picks to remove rubbish to help nature thrive. Sorting the litter or items we cannot repurpose in different colour bags/boxes for the bin workers to collect.

The Festival of Stories is supported by a variety of community groups, including Abbey People, Active Fenland, BookTrust, Busy Fingers Pre-school, Cambridge Sustainable Food, Domino Pre-school, Groundwork East, Huntingdon Nursery School, Kings Hedges Family Support Partnership, Lionel Walden Primary School, Living Sport, Niche Comics and Books, Peterborough Environment City Trust, Teddington Playgroup, the University of Cambridge as well as a number of foodbanks and food-hubs across the county.

All events are free unless stated otherwise. To find out more about exciting Festival of Stories events coming up in Cambridgeshire this February and how to book, follow Talking Together in Cambridgeshire on Facebook (@talkingtogethercambs) or the Festival of Stories website.