Reach for the stars with care leavers’ project! | Adverse Camber


Tue 30th Jan 2018

We are delighted to announce that the Stars and Stories project we are running with Derbyshire County Council’s The Virtual School, has been given the go ahead through significant funding support from Arts Council England and the National Lottery. The project has also attracted funding from the Cooperative Community Dividend Fund, the Royal Astronomical Society, Tesco’s Bags of Help, Foundation Derbyshire, Walbrook Trust, the National Space Centre and Derbyshire Virtual Schools Partnership.

Stars and Stories is an exciting new creative project designed by four Derbyshire care leavers which has enabled young people, their carers, support staff and foster families across Derbyshire to take part in 12 months of stargazing and storytelling – whatever the weather!

The project has also received a ringing endorsement from British Astronaut, Tim Peake! On hearing about the project, Tim Peake sent the following message of support:

“I’m really pleased that the young people working on ‘Stars and Stories’ are combining storytelling with astronomy. Viewing the stars and constellations against the blackness of space during my six months on the International Space Station certainly impressed me! I do hope that all involved really enjoy this project. Aim high and keep on learning more about the wonders of the fascinating cosmos around us. With best wishes, Tim Peake  – UK /ESA astronaut”

Inspired by the Adverse Camber touring production, Dreaming the Night Field: a legend of Wales, which links the characters of an ancient Welsh legend to the timeless constellations of the night sky, four care leavers aged 16+, together with Royal Astronomical Society fellow and space journalist, Nick Spall and professional storyteller and writer, Maria Whatton helped to design the new project.

Over the course of the project, storyteller Maria Whatton and astronomer Nick Spall will lead storytelling and stargazing sessions directly underneath the night sky, exploring stories about stars as well as learning about many aspects of astronomy – constellations, the stars and planets. With the added help of a mobile home planetarium, funded by the Royal Astronomical Society and Cooperative Community Dividend Fund, the project will bring storytelling and stargazing evenings to children’s homes across Derbyshire, bringing young people, staff and foster families together to discover stars and stories, even on cloudy nights!

The project will culminate in a brand new performance featuring original work by young people from Derbyshire children’s homes, to be performed at Wirksworth Festival in September 2018.

This project builds on two years of relationship building initiated by Derbyshire Virtual School and Adverse Camber, with regular drop-in visits to children’s homes by Yorkshire storyteller Christine McMahon, plus training sessions for staff and creative mentors who work with young people, some of whom experience barriers to accessing mainstream education.

Project Producer Jan Reynolds commented, “We’re delighted that such a wide range of organisations have supported these young people’s ideas and helped to make the project possible.”

As the project develops, all partners will be reviewing feedback and gathering evidence of the benefits of the project, with the aim of raising support for more opportunities and projects for young people in the future.

For more information about this exciting, innovative project designed by young care leavers, please contact: Jan Reynolds, Adverse Camber Participation Associate:  jan.reynolds[at]