A PROJECT which champions Swindon’s growing literary scene has been successful in its bid for funding from Arts Council England.

Artswords, an outreach project for Swindon Libraries and Information Service, has secured an additional £46,000 over two years, which will be used to continue its programme of literature development for readers and writers in the borough.

The project, which also receives funding from Swindon Council, supports reading groups by organising trainer days for group leaders, organises writer visits, and runs events and activities to mark key days in the reading calendar, including World Book Day and National Poetry Day.

Artswords offers opportunities to writers by supporting writing groups, offering one-to-one support for emerging writers and organising various writing competitions. The programme contributes to the Swindon Festival of Literature by offering Swindon writers the chance to access audiences and vice versa.

A new initiative is also being run, which will invite non-literature arts organisations to animate library spaces on selected days. It is hoped the use of performing and visual arts will present libraries as a great place to promote imagination.

Following the funding announcement, Artswords project leader and Literature Development worker Matt Holland, said: “This is terrific news. Funding from Arts Council England represents recognition of the foundations that have been built and the good things that have happened in recent years, via Artswords, at libraries, theatres, and other public venues in town.

“It also augurs well for further development of lots more reading, writing, and word-based activities, in Swindon. It’s a real cause for celebration.”

Coun Keith Williams, cabinet member for corporate services and leisure, who is also responsible for libraries, said: “We have supported Artswords for the last 10 years and have put together an expanding programme of events in that time, but this funding will allow us to support even more initiatives. I am really excited about the animated space initiative which we hope will encourage even more people to engage with the library service.”

l To find out more information about Artswords visit: http://swindonartswords.blogspot.co.uk/