Children across Dorset are being asked to get creative during lockdown through a new writing competition.

The Dorset Echo and Aspirations Academies Trust have teamed up for this venture and are asking youngsters to send in a story inspired by, but not necessarily about, lockdown. It can be on any subject with a maximum of 1,000 words but it can be as short as they want, especially for younger children.

Two winners will be selected by our judging panel, one for secondary school-aged children and one for primary school pupils.

Steve and Paula Kenning (pictured above), CEOs and co-founders of Aspirations Academies Trust, will personally put up prizes of £75 in Amazon gift vouchers to each winner.

They said: “In this time of lockdown, with many pupils confined to staying at home, it is so critical to continue to encourage creativity and, in particular, creative writing in young people. Losing oneself in a fantastic piece of writing is a lifelong pleasure that we can all enjoy and we are delighted to support this creative writing competition in order to foster this talent in young people across schools in Dorset.”

Independent children’s book publisher Andersen Press will also gift a generous bundle of books and provide the winners with the opportunity to interview children’s author Anthea Simmons (pictured below) who will also judge the entries.

Her best-selling books include Lightning Mary and I’m Big Now. Andersen Press will be working in partnership with Aspirations Academies Trust (AAT) schools on the south coast from September this year, including Budmouth Academy in Weymouth, Atlantic Academy on Portland and Bovington Academy.

The winners will be selected by the Dorset Echo, AAT and Anthea Simmons.

Dorset Echo editor Diarmuid MacDonagh said: “This is an unprecedented time for all of us, especially for children who would normally be in school and their parents who are now filling the role of teachers as well. We want you to to come up with creative stories inspired by this experience and how normal life has been changed. Be as imaginative with your tales as you can.”

Unfortunately, entries can only be accepted by email because our staff are currently working from home. Parents can put younger children’s words on email where necessary. Please send your stories to by Friday, May 8.