More photos here!
As soon as we entered the living room we were greeted with a warm flickering fire and iced cupcakes along with drinks. The 'ladies of Lumb' introduced themselves and we got to know each other a bit before going over house rules. They were really nice and welcoming for the whole week. They told us we were free to explore the house, read any book from the library and even eat whatever we find in the kitchen if we're feeling peckish!
Every day after breakfast we would have a 3 hour writing workshop with established poets, and our mentors for the week Caroline Bird and Yemisi Blake. We learnt that Caroline published her first book at 15 years old and Yemisi has been an 'artist in residence' at the Southbank Centre.
Everyday two teens from the South and two teens from the North would cook the dinner. The rule was, if you're cooking the night after you wash up the day before! Also, each evening we would gather together in a building named 'The Barn' to share poetry. For instance, one night we did covers of our favourite poems.
I found the week challenging, but in a good way. Being away from the city bustle really helped me to clear my mind and think. It's amazing really, because I think I was finding inspiration at the most unusual times, in the weirdest places. One thing I really found useful was the daily one to one sessions we had with the mentors during the week. I was able to show them my pieces and ask how it could be improved. They would give honest feedback which I would try to take on board.
One thing I didn't expect was to become so attached to everyone in the household. I know it was 'only a week' but we bonded very well and the fact was, we wouldn't see each other for a while because we're scattered all over the country. Bearing that fact in mind, there was lots of hugs, photos and tears on the last day!
Overall, I think I found a new found confidence in myself and my writing. I have lots of tips that I can apply and use in the future, in school and out. So, let's just say my half term definitely wasn't wasted.
Read pieces of creative writing from other volunteers who attended the Arvon course on our social reporters page.
If you're aged 11-19 years and you'd like to write a piece for our website get in touch with Robert Sommerlad on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in building your CV through volunteering or like the idea of meeting new friends whilst helping out at your local library? Find out more about our young people's programmes and what you can do for yourself and for your local community.