for Arts
& Culture
Literature | London, Plymouth and South Yorkshire

ArvonWriting the Game

Arvon is the UK’s home of creative writing. With three centres in Devon, Shropshire and Yorkshire, it runs an annual programme of creative writing courses and retreats for schools, groups and individuals.

Writing the Game is one of Arvon’s flagship projects, harnessing young people‚Äôs love of football in order to engage them with writing and learning.


© Arvon


© Arvon

Target Beneficiaries

The project targets young people aged 13-16 who are currently underachieving and have negative attitudes to writing and limited experience of participation in the arts.

The project aims to:

  • Offer arts experiences that improve young people’s self-expression, enjoyment of creative writing and writing skills
  • Increase young people’s well-being (including confidence, emotional wellbeing, relationships and satisfaction with school)
  • Develop a robust model of creative learning for young people aged 13-16 who are underachieving to support their writing development
  • Develop teachers’ ability to support young people’s writing development more effectively and to share their learning with others
  • Evaluate and disseminate learning from the project, creating a community of practice at national level


Since 2009, Writing the Game has worked with young people in London, Plymouth and South Yorkshire. This case study focuses on the period between 2013 and 2015, with projects taking place in South Yorkshire and London. Each of the schools were partnered with a football club, with three schools in Barnsley partnering with Barnsley Football Club, one school in Barnsley partnering with Sheffield United, and one school in Lambeth partnering with Crystal Palace.

Activities included:

  • week-long residentials at one of the Arvon centres
  • preparatory and follow-up workshops
  • creating writing anthologies and sharing events in schools


From 2013-2015 Arvon has worked with schools and young people:










In addition:

  • the ‘Kick it Out’ national creative writing competition involved 2,000 young people
  • Arvon promoted pupil well-being and achievement by developing their self-confidence; strengthening their capacity to learn and developing both independence and social bonds

All teachers reported development of more effective teaching strategies.


Following this activity, Arvon:

  • secured £19,000 to support an extended Writing the Game programme in partnership with Crystal Palace Football Club
  • developed a £65,000 bid to Comic Relief as part of an ongoing relationship with Leyton Orient Football Club

In Spring 2020, Arvon will released their free Writing the Game Learning Resource, a new publication for teachers and youth leaders to run Writing the Game activities in their own clubs or classrooms.


I never used to like writing and now I love it.


I think it’s helping to build my confidence, and when I talked to [the tutor] he told me he thought I was smart, and I’m bottom set for some things, … so that made me feel more confident. I’m not used to people thinking I’m smart.



Paul Hamlyn Foundation and an individual donor.