Opening the doots to Oxford’s heritage

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The Story Museum in Oxford has won funding to run a unique volunteer training programme for people who are currently not in work or education.

Twenty places are available for adults aged between 18 and 65 on the Museum’s new Heritage Story Skills course, where they will learn about Oxford’s story heritage.

The course, which is free, could open doors to job opportunities and further learning. The Story Museum hopes to attract applicants from areas with high levels of skill and employment deprivation.

The project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Story Museum’s Jane Cockcroft, who is running the programme said: “We’re thrilled that the Heritage Lottery Fund has recognised, through its support, the contribution that story makes to our collective heritage. Our volunteer storytellers will find out about Oxford’s stories – both historic and fantastical - learn how to re-tell them and become ‘Story Guides’ connecting stories to places in Oxford.

Through the process of the training they’ll also develop skills to enable them to create a variety of learning resources.

In this way they will bring Oxford’s story heritage to life for visitors on their tours, and for people in their communities.

“The aspiring story guides will focus on three acclaimed fantasy writers, all connected to Oxford: Lewis Carroll, J R R Tolkien, and C S Lewis. They’ll also discover Oxford myths, legends and ghost stories as well as visit museums and explore objects connected with their subject material. Anyone who is interested in stories and Oxford’s history will enjoy this training with a difference.”

Training runs two days a week for 12 weeks from September - December 2012. A childcare fund is available for parents of young children. Bus fares and lunch allowance are also included. By the end of the course, the volunteer storytellers will have acquired certification in ‘Heritage Storytelling’ giving them heritage knowledge and transferable skills.

Anyone interested in joining the training scheme should email jane@storymuseum.org.uk or call 01865 790050. For press enquiries contact Cath Nightingale or Kim Pickin 01865 790050.