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Allen Backs Premier League Initiative

Joe Allen

JOE ALLEN is one of a host of stars backing a poetry writing competition for children aged five to 11 – Premier League Writing Stars.

The campaign is open to all primary schools in England and Wales and aims to get young people writing poetry in different creative forms. 

Inspired by the William Hickson poem ‘Try, Try Again’, which is recited by footballers in the recent Premier League Primary Star advertising campaign, the competition asks school children to write around the theme of resilience; what does it mean to you to try and try again? 

Entries can be any form of poetic writing including a rap or lyrics. Teachers and parents can register or nominate their child’s school to take part at PLPrimaryStars.com.

Potters star Allen visited Maple Court Academy in Bentilee to help launch the campaign and he revealed: “It’s great to be able to help inspire the kids through Premier League Writing Stars. The pupils read a few of their poems to me today and they were fantastic. The theme of resilience is certainly something that is important to me as a footballer, so it’s great to see that the children are being taught these values from a young age.”

Deputy Principle of Maple Court Academy Sam Cooper said: “Writing Stars is a fantastic scheme, all the children have loved and embraced it. With the Premier League behind it, it gives that something extra for the kids to be passionate about. It’s great to have Joe [Allen] here as well. I can’t tell you how much of a buzz it has created at our school having a Premier League footballer here.”

Community Projects Officer Richard Adams said: “The theme of resilience is very applicable because everyday life at school brings its challenges so it’s important to show resilience. It means a lot for Joe Allen to be here to talk about his experiences with school and the times when he has had to persevere as it is very relatable for the children.”

The Premier League Writing Stars' all-star judging panel includes former professional footballer and children’s author Frank Lampard; ‘Charlie and Lola’ author-illustrator and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child; Premier League star and lyricist Yannick Bolasie and Young People’s Laureate for London Caleb Femi. All judging will be overseen by Jonathan Douglas, National Literacy Trust Director. 

Entries will be considered against a range of criteria including creativity, tone and originality. The winning poems will be published in a limited-edition book. Other prizes include author-led writing workshops and Premier League trophy school visits, as well as winning poems being read aloud by football stars. The first 1,000 schools that enter the competition will receive a bespoke ‘Book Bag’.  

The campaign is supported by the National Literacy Trust and is part of the Premier League Primary Stars education programme, which has already engaged more than 10,000 primary schools and 13,000 teachers in England and Wales. 

Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore said: “Premier League Primary Stars has already proved to be a success thanks to the great work our clubs are carrying out in their communities and the breadth of resources the programme makes available to primary school teachers. We have already achieved our initial target of engaging 10,000 schools and the programme keeps evolving. Premier League Writing Stars is backed by established authors and poets as well as footballers and our aim is to enthuse children, teachers and parents alike.” 

The competition launch coincides with National Poetry Day and entrants will have until 22 December to submit their original poems.

All entries are submitted via schools and teachers and parents should visit plprimarystars.com to register or nominate their schools to take part. 

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