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Derby Poetry Festival secures Funding for 2024 from

Arts Council England, The National Heritage Lottery Fund and The National Forest Arts Grant.


Derby Poetry Festival CIC is delighted to announce that we have successfully secured project grant funding from Arts Council England to support Derby Poetry Festival CIC, specifically for the 2024 festival, returning to Derby from 2nd to 6th October, plus funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Forest Arts Grant for ‘Write In The Wilderness’ a series of creative writing and nature walks throughout 2024.


Established in 2017, this year’s Derby Poetry Festival will be the 6th iteration, taking place across Derby in various cultural venues and finishing with a full day of digital events on Sunday 6th October. Previous headliners include Terrance Hayes, Raymond Antrobus, Rachel Long, Linton Quasi Johnson, Shivanee Ramlochan and T S Elliott winner Joelle Taylor.


In addition to the annual festival, Derby Poetry Festival CIC has expanded to year-round activity, which began in 2023 with the launch of the Derby Poetry Festival Poetry Prize, judged by Helen Mort. Following over 150 submissions, the top prize was awarded to Amy King, the prize will be returning at the end of the year and we’re incredibly excited to read all your submissions.


This year-round activity includes a Young Persons Writing Group, co-produced with Writing East Midlands, a year-long series of digital writing workshops featuring Cecilia Knapp, Andrew McMillan, Rachel Long, Liz Berry, Yomi Sode, Vanessa Kissule and Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa. ‘Write In The Wilderness’, a series of creative writing and nature walks made possible through support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Forest Arts Grant. These poetry walks, combined two passions for Co-Director Sophie Sparham, writing and walking, and they will be taking place all over Derbyshire between March and September with many happening within the National Forest. There will be family sessions and digital workshops as part of the project.


As part of the changes for Derby Poetry Festival, Dan Webber will be joining the team as a Director and we’ll be introducing several new freelance roles, including an Administrator, Shadow Writers and the return of the Associate Poet Commission.


Dan has said “The continued support from Arts Council England plus additional funding for projects from The National Lottery Heritage Fund made possible thanks to National Lottery players and The National Forest Arts Grant, highlights the level of quality we aim to produce in our work and the well-deserved attention this brings to Derby and its creative community, we cannot thank our funders enough for these opportunities and look forward to welcoming audiences and participants old and new to Derby Poetry Festival events across the year”


This support is unprecedented and invaluable to helping nurture the Derby poetry and creative writing scene and will enable members of the public to engage with a wealth of events and projects across 2024.



About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

As the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future as set out in the strategic plan, Heritage 2033.

Over the next ten years, the Heritage Fund aims to invest £3.6billion raised for good causes by National Lottery players to bring about benefits for people, places and the natural environment.

The Heritage Fund helps protect, transform and share the things from the past that people care about, from popular museums and historic places, our natural environment and fragile species, to the languages and cultural traditions that celebrate who we are.

The Heritage Fund is passionate about heritage and committed to driving innovation and collaboration to make a positive difference to people’s lives today, while leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.

The National Forest covers 200 square miles of the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire. Its creation began in the early 1990s, a radical vision to bring the benefits of trees, woodland and multi-use forestry to lowland England, where thousands of people live and work. The Forest provides a national demonstration of the value of the natural environment to drive regeneration and showcase policy and practice, research and development in the heart of the country.

It was the first broadleaf forest to be created at scale in England for 1,000 years and is now seen as one of the boldest environmentally-led regeneration initiatives in the country. It has transformed a post-industrial Midlands landscape – scarred by coal mining and heavy industry - from black to green. 

Year by year, the National Forest has been steadily turning what was once one of the least wooded areas of England into a multi-purpose, sustainable forest. Nine million trees have been planted so far. Forest cover has increased from 6% to 22%, approaching double the national average for woodland cover. The aim is to reach around a third forest cover.   

Trees have been the catalyst for change and transformation. The National Forest is a positive response to the climate crisis and is putting in place the building blocks to deliver mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Through partnerships the NFC is working to create wildlife habitats, reduce flooding, improve air quality, store carbon and create space for outdoor education, supporting the health and wellbeing of communities and enabling Forest-related businesses to thrive.


The National Forest Company (charity no: 1166563) leads the creation of the National Forest, working in partnership with landowners, local authorities, businesses and its communities. It has strong support from government, politicians and the public, and continues to be supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

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