#AmazingAccrington business leaders have been asked to support an exciting new initiative led by actor Julie Hesmondhalgh.

The Winter Writing Trail, in conjunction with #AmazingAccrington, will see local primary and secondary school children, and those in the wider area, as well as students from North Lancs Training Group (NLTG) and Accrington & Rossendale College, invited to take part in a themed creative writing competition.

The students will be asked to write a story or poem up to 300-words, on the theme of winter or Christmas, before 12 winning entries are selected by Julie and displayed in shop windows around Accrington centre.

The winners will also receive £50 each, donated by the #AmazingAccrington business leaders, who were asked to get involved in the campaign at the #AmazingAccrington business leaders meeting held at St James’ Church on Thursday 21st September, where Julie spoke to business leaders, training providers, education establishments, members of Hyndburn Borough Council and many more.

Those winning entries will be joined in 12 further shops by written pieces from professional writers, who will also be awarded £50 each from the money donated by #AmazingAccrington business leaders.

Audio recordings will then be produced, with various celebrities reading out the 24 poems, and QR codes of the recordings to be displayed in the participating shop windows.

All 24 shops will then be part of an exciting Winter Writing Trail competition, which will see Under 12s visit each of the shops to collect one highlighted letter from each poem/story, which will then make a phrase. Entries will then be submitted to Accrington Market Hall, for the chance to win prizes.

The competition trail will be officially launched at the Accrington Christmas Light Switch On, which takes place on Thursday 23rd November, where the 12 winners will be invited on stage.

Julie Hesmondhalgh, said: “I am so excited to be working on this wonderful initiative here in my hometown of Accrington, it is going to be fantastic to see all the community getting involved and both writing and thinking creatively.

“It will also be great to see the work of professional writers and our local students coming together, and to involve local businesses as part of the competition trail leading up to Christmas is just incredible.”

Murray Dawson, Chair of #AmazingAccrington, commented: “We would like to encourage our business leaders to get involved in this amazing initiative by donating £50. It is going to be a great activity for local youngsters to get involved in, and to be working with Julie, who is such a local legend, is inspiring for us all.

“The donations need to be pledged by 6/10/23 to be included in the activity, by emailing editor@amazingaccrington.co.uk.”

Sameena King, Manager at Accrington Market, said: “This is such a brilliant idea and the Market Hall are delighted to be hosting the post box to receive the competition entries. Not only will this support our market and town centre businesses with extra people visiting, it will brings people together in a creative way. Hopefully, it will help inspire the next generation of creative writers from Hyndburn too!”

For further updates on the Winter Writing Trail, please visit: https://www.amazingaccrington.co.uk/