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NTU alumnus and children’s author Rob gets a funding boost as he seeks to bring old and young together

6 November 2019

An award-winning Nottingham author planning to boost people’s mental health by bringing young and old together to read his books after he won funding by taking part in a Dragon’s Den-style event.

Rob Hann, (BA Hons Law 1984; MA Creative Writing 2009), whose previous books, SAS Operation Galia and The GrumbleGoar, both picked up literary prizes, went to the event in order to raise the cash to help launch his project and came away £250 better off after his scheme won the judges and audience over.

The event was called Hard Heads and Hang Ups and took place at the THiNK in NG meeting space in Nottingham, where an audience and a panel of judges heard pitches from a number of candidates looking for funding for projects designed to boost mental health among people in the community.

Rob, from West Bridgford, wants to use the money – part of which was donated by East Midlands chemical firm Lubrizol – to run reading, rhyme and drawing/illustration sessions at care homes, where groups of schoolchildren will take part in the activities alongside residents.

The activities have been inspired by the Channel Four programme Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, which recently featured Nottingham’s Lark Hill Retirement Village, in New Rise, Clifton, and showed the benefits to people’s lives of different generations socialising together.

Rob wants to use his latest book, which is called the Quangle Wangle’s Back and is a sequel to Edward Lear’s 1877 nonsense poem, The Quangle Wangle’s Hat, as the basis for group activities between residents and groups of school children.

Although in its early stages, Rob’s plan was declared one of two winners announced on the night, with £550 going to a Mansfield artist who wants to convert a kitchen at a local allotment in order to hold gardening and craft activities. 

Rob said: “I watched the Old People’s Home for 4-Year-olds and the benefits the experiment had for the participants’ mental health were extremely convincing, so I want to use my latest book as the basis to organise more activities involving school children and local care home residents.

“The money is very welcome and it will help me to complete my book in order to start the sessions, which could involve writing new bits of verse or drawing pictures inspired by the words.

“My book is a follow-up to the Quangle Wangle’s Hat and I’m really pleased with it. Lear was renowned for his nonsense verse and everyone can relate to it, whether it’s kids coming to it first time or from older people who remember Lear’s poems from their own childhood.”

Lubrizol has been involved in the Hard Heads and Hang Ups project for the past three years and, as well as donating £250, its production services manager Karen Clegg acts as one of the judges.

She said: “There was a really strong line up of applicants this year, but Clare and Rob’s projects got the most votes because their ideas were the ones that really fired the audience’s imaginations.

“Mental health is a growing concern within society and it’s something that we at Lubrizol want to play a part in helping to alleviate as part of our community activity. We’re impressed with both Clare and Rob’s ideas and wish them all the best at getting their projects off the ground.”

Photos show:

1) Children’s author Rob Hann, pictured during a visit to Nottingham’s Hollygirt School, has won £250 to help launch reading, rhyme and drawing/illustration sessions at care homes, where groups of schoolchildren will take part in the activities alongside residents.

2) From left, artist Clare Taylor and author Rob Hann won financial backing for their mental health projects when they took part in the Hard Heads and Hang Ups, which was judged by Karen Clegg, production services manager at East Midlands chemical firm Lubrizol. 

Information courtesy of Penguin PR Limited



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