Pollokshields Development Agency (Creative Writing Classes)

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Lead Organisation:
Pollokshields Development Agency
Award Amount:

We wanted to run a comprehensive and engaging series of Creative Writing workshops, designed to improve written English and empower refugees to tell their individual stories in an authentic and personal way.

The participants would not only improve their literacy skills, but also develop core social skills by working together and improving their language skills which can increase confidence and ability to better and engage and integrate with others in the community. It would also promote and improve mental health as Creative Writing can help alleviate mental anxiety.

New Scots reached

Key Information

Our project aimed to:

  • Improve confidence in spoken and written English
  • Improve the quality of participants submitted written work
  • Increase the sense of connection and integration of participants

Key Information


10/10/2021  -10/10/2022

Target Groups

Women and children

Project Type

Spreading good practice


It is well recognised that creative writing is an effective tool to improve mental health and wellbeing. ‘It can allow you to organise your thoughts, process emotions, boost your imagination, and improve your conversation skills. Over time this can contribute to your development, not only as a writer but as a person.’ (

We know from our previous creative writing projects which we ran with refugee women and a separate one for their children as well as BAME communities, that Creative Writing workshops gave parents the confidence to help their children complete their school work, and gave children direct support. The children had a safe platform to discuss and express themselves, to share ideas with their peers, and work confidently. The women were given the opportunity to discuss their work in their native languages as well as improving proficiency in English language to help them better integrate into the Scottish context.

The direct verbal and evaluation feedback from the participants attending this workshop series was very positive and many of the participants requested follow up courses.

Involvement of New Scots in project

The project was very successful in involving refugees. The participants were all refugees. The translators were also refugees, but those with strong spoken English skills. These translators improved their written English skills also, by participating in the project.


The lasting impact of the project is the new skills the participants have learnt. The confidence they gained will help them integrate in society and also open them up to other community based learning opportunities.

Online classes worked well, as it allowed those with career/child responsibilities to be able to participate. Had the classes been in house, many participants might not have been able to attend. Having translators available to provide their services is invaluable, and it allowed many people to take part in the project.

The project has been a great first step in refugee integration, as it helped form bonds and relationships amongst the refugee community. The creative writing gave some the confidence they needed to pursue other opportunities to further their English skills, such as ESOL classes or other community based learning.

Challenges encountered

The most challenging aspect was to keep the participants coming back each week. There were many who struggled to come back, as once a week sessions were not enough to keep them engaged. There were those who wanted daily sessions, others expressed interest in sessions twice, or three times a week. Looking at the translator and workshop facilitators schedules, this was not possible and so the sessions remained once a week.


Our key learning from this project is that we should run similar projects but perhaps over a shorter term, with more than weekly sessions. We also have learnt to run workshops on different timings, to allow more participation.

Project Partners