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'This win is such an honour and a boost:' National joy for heritage project

PUBLISHED: 16:19 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:19 15 March 2019

Dean Parkin and Naomi Jaffa with their honour at the Creative Learning Awards for The Grit Project in Lowestoft. Picture: Heather Magner, Northern Exposure Photography

Dean Parkin and Naomi Jaffa with their honour at the Creative Learning Awards for The Grit Project in Lowestoft. Picture: Heather Magner, Northern Exposure Photography

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A project, which delved into the past and celebrated a town's historic fishing village, has won a prestigious award.

Poetry People triumphed in the national Creative Learning Awards for The Grit project – a community-driven words, film and music project about Lowestoft’s almost forgotten fishing village.

Led by Lowestoft-born poet and writer Dean Parkin, The Grit project delivered workshops in eight primary schools, reminiscence sessions with residents in six care homes as well as GritFest – a Grit Celebration Day attended by more than 2,000 people in Sparrows Nest park.

The year-long project also created a local history teaching resource, new displays about The Grit in the Lowestoft Maritime Museum, and a live touring show ‘Pearls from The Grit’ that brought to life the characters and stories of The Grit as it toured Suffolk.

Shortlisted for the literature and creative writing award, the winners were announced at the very first Creative Learning Summit in Halifax on March 8.

With an estemmed judging panel, one of the judges and Carnegie Medal winning writer, Melvin Burgess, described The Grit as: “a highly imaginative project, reaching right across the community and connecting the generations in a variety of different ways to bring the past to life in a part of the world where it had been all but forgotten.”

Mr Parkin said: “It’s wonderful to have a national spotlight shining so positively on the town, and it’s all thanks to the passion of Lowestoft people for their history and that special ‘gritty’ beach village spirit.”

Naomi Jaffa, co-founder/director of Poetry People, said: “The Grit is Poetry People’s first major project and winning this Creative Learning Award is a wonderful endorsement of our work.

“We’re planning another ‘Pearls from The Grit’ tour this autumn and another GritFest in 2020, and this win is such an honour and a boost.

“It’s definitely putting The Grit back into Lowestoft!”

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