Seed Bed is our incubator for grassroots initiatives which explore the environment and ecology crises through creative words and stories.
Projects we’ve funded
Seed Bed focuses on communities in the Levelling Up for Culture places in the South West region. It offers a rolling programme, combining small grants of up to £500 each with ongoing support. To find out more and express your interest, simply email a short summary of your project (not more than 500 words), when it’s likely to happen and what support you might need from us.
To find out more and express your interest, simply email a short summary of your project (not more than 500 words), when it’s likely to happen and what support you might need from us.
Your project must
- have a clear environmental focus
- be linked to an organisation – e.g. a community group, or a small charitable trust. If in doubt, please do discuss with us, but note that we’re unable to fund projects and activities run by solo practitioners via Seed Bed.
If we think we can support it, we’ll be in touch to arrange an online advice session and explore the options. You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use the subject line ‘Seed Bed’.
Find out more about projects and activities funded via Seed Bed so far below.
In January 2023, Totnes Climate Hub ran two Wild Words workshops, facilitated by creative writing teacher Heidi Stephenson. The group analysed what makes for powerful eco-poetry, what its purpose is, how it has to engage hearts and minds to inspire individual and collective change, as well bearing witness, spreading awareness and changing the lens of perception. The participants completed in-depth writing exercises, each devised a Green Manifesto, and completed five new eco-poems to be shared on Totnes Climate Hub’s social media as part of the Wild Words project, to be shared on Earth Day 2023.
All the participants were new to writing eco-poetry and none were familiar with the eco-poems they looked at. The activities opened up access to both creative writing and reading to people who would not have had that opportunity without the Wild Words project. Because the workshops were also free of charge to low income participants, low income was not a barrier to success.
“We learned so much in six hours both in the workshops and afterwards during our research and writing exercises. The workshops were packed with information and inspiration; we had exercises to stretch our imaginations and technical ability, as well as examples of eco poetry of others to consider and enjoy. A skilled facilitator, Heidi gave us both the tools to pursue further work on eco poetry and a desire to use words to make a difference to the environment and those who inhabit it. Thank you for a thorough and challenging two days – really pleased to have able to be part of it.”Amanda, participant
Downstage Write is a theatre company dedicated to creating development and production opportunities for playwrights in Devon and Cornwall. Thanks to Seed Bed they were able to run writing workshops, commission pieces from local writers, and stage short plays professionally in community spaces. Torbay and Plymouth were chosen for the events because they face similar socioeconomic and geographical barriers.
“Commissioning 4 emerging local writers meant we ended up with four plays that each had an original voice and authenticity – exploring everything from our dietary choices and access to that discourse depending on your class background, to the impact of the climate crisis on parts of the world outside of Europe and America (who can often dominate our field of vision). But despite the individuality of these pieces, they also felt tied together by the fact they were written for our part of the country; the threat of flooding was something clearly at the forefront of our writers’ minds and there was something that felt very political about putting those plays on in two coastal locations. Local people writing stories for local audiences.”Sam, Downstage Write
Kit Brook flows for 6 miles through Somerset’s Blackdown Hills, before joining the River Axe. One of Chardstock Eco Group‘s aims is to engage the community and create a plan for the river’s future – to tackle the growing issues of flood and drought, improve water quality, increase the sustainability of the land, and create a better place for wildlife and people. Thanks to Seed Bed, Chardstock Eco Group were able to recruit the storyteller Claire Viner to lead workshops and teach the community (including pupils from the local primary school) how to tell its stories of the river – from the past, as it is now, and how the community dreams it will become.
“Very, very big smiley faces here. Thank you so much. Our project is to create a better future for the communities living close to the Kit Brook in East Devon. People need to be able to imagine what a better future would look like, and this is where story telling comes in.”Vicky Whitworth, Chair of Chardstock Eco Group
Come back soon for an update on the activity at Langaford Farm Trust funded by Seed Bed.
Wild Nights Young Company, hosted by Dartmoor-based MED Theatre, is a group of 12-19 year olds with varying talents, interests and backgrounds. The company members are from rurally remote locations and use their experience of living in isolated towns and villages to inspire their art. The company has been run by MED Theatre for 19 years and has provided a place for teenagers to find their own voice through writing, performance and media arts.
The Seed Bed grant will enable the young people to use their own feelings about, and understanding of, the current climate crisis to create something comical but meaningful, learning new skills and challenging themselves along the way.
This project will help us to explore our creativity outside of school, in a place where we aren’t restricted by time or curriculum constraints. It will take us off our screens and gives us a chance to laugh about and process subject matters that could otherwise cause anxiety or stress.Participant