The Gilesgate Story Challenge has two aims

  • To inspire children to write amazing stories
  • To raise money for local charities

The story so far… 

Our short story competition first came into being in 2019 as an idea to support World Book Day. 

Simon Berry is an Optometrist with his own Independent Practice in Gilesgate, Durham. He is very keen that his Practice is part of the community and supports local causes. It was a member of his team, Bethany, who first suggested a short story competition. 

Simon got ambitious and came up with a grand plan. He wanted to start a new annual story competition. Each year the subject of the challenge would change and would raise money for different local charities. He would self-publish a book each year with the winning entries and the proceeds from selling the book would go to the charity chosen that year.

The whole point of the Gilesgate Story Challenge is to get children excited about writing stories in their own voice. We do not alter grammar or change the children’s words.

The first year, 2019, we asked for stories about eyes or glasses. All proceeds were given to Grace House Short Break and Respite (of which Simon was a Trustee.) The first year raised just under £3000. These books have now all sold out. 

The second year, 2020, was the beginning of the pandemic. We asked for stories about Random Acts of Kindness. It was a difficult year but we still managed to raise c. £1500 that was split between The Cheesy Waffles Project and RT Projects. These charities are based in Gilesgate. At the time of writing there are still a few books available 

2021 is the third year of the competition. It is about British Wildife and all proceeds will be donated to the Durham Wildlife Trust. The book is available now!

If you want to find out more, would like to stock the book, or would like to help us promote out project? Please get in touch:

0191 375 75 44