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Litfest For Literature

A Past Project

Catching Lives worked on a two year collaborative arts project, bringing together partners from across Europe, to jointly develop and inspire methods for inspiring writing, literature and improving literacy skills.


Working with different learner groups, spanning all abilities, covering all interests and cultures, partners from Spain, Italy, France and the UK, we learned from each other about how to create inclusive, cohesive and cultural communities.

We developed creative opportunities at the Open Centre, to encourage clients to work alongside visual, verbal and performance artists in practical workshops, inspiring individual and group work that enabled clients to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions through art work, photography, animation, film, poetry, drama and short story writing.


Please see below for the wonderful books that clients at our daycentre have created. They are the accumulation of two years of hard work and creativity, so please take a moment to view them.

The first, titled ‘A walk In Our Shoes’ details a route around our beautiful city, covering many historical locations and sights of interest. It is packed full of pictures and factual information, all researched and written by our clients, on each point of interest, so whether you are new to Canterbury, have been a resident for years or just fancy a visit, please take the time to have a look and I am sure it will inspire you to visit, or revisit, some of these fantastic locations.

The second, titled Voices From The Pavement’ is an anthology collecting an amazing array of poetry, prose, photography and inspiring pieces of art work.

Voices From The Pavement can be viewed here

The project led to various thoughts, stories, memories , reflections, emotive poetry and an eclectic mix of beautiful pieces of art being collated to form an Anthology

“Voices from the Pavement” and “A Walk in Our Shoes”, have been produced within the EU Literature for Life Project and both were presented at the final festival in St Clementin in France, www.stclementinlitfest.com, along with our partners in Spain and Italy.

The mobility funding from the project allowed us to take seven of our clients, volunteers and staff to celebrate this final event. The highlight of the occasion was the presentation from our clients who presented the writing of their book “Harbledown Hope”


Harbledown Hope

Created by our clients and volunteers, Harbledown Hope can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here


The choice of an urban fox called Harbledown for the main character has been central to this. Right from the beginning this was a character that many can relate to and enables them to bring in their own experiences , the ups and downs of homeless life and the emotions endured by our community.

All of the settings chosen for our story are ones we can relate to and are featured within ‘The Walk In Our Shoes’ monograph. Urban foxes often wander their own lonely road, being maligned and misunderstood.

A short introduction of this is found below-


I cowered; the drift of leaves my disguise, my refuge, my escape from the madness.

Blood ran from my open wounds, mingling with the autumn colours.

I hadn’t seen the tangled wire web and its rusted thorns as I scrambled for cover.

My torn body shuddered. The pain was unbearable.

Blood-curdling barks, the piercing horn, echoed through the early morning mist. I was terrified, my heart pounding.


From my hiding place at the edge of the wood, I looked across the meadow to see my parents pressed to the soaking grass, nowhere to go.

They exchanged fear-filled, knowing glances. Thundering hooves were getting closer.

The ground rumbled menacingly. The roar of the hunt was deafening.

Through my tears I saw two flashes of fiery red leap up, straight towards the onrushing hunt.


“Mum! Dad!


Don’t leave me!”


Their terrified eyes turned to meet mine, but for just one last time, as the hounds’ teeth closed in.

Mum and Dad were gone.

I’m alone.

My eyes filled and closed. They didn’t want to see anymore.

‘Reflections of Writing with Catching Lives’- by Andrew Buller

“I have been volunteering at Catching Lives in Canterbury and have been  heavily involved in a EU-funded literacy project with our homeless community. This written work is developing into our own illustrated children’s book series, with the first book ‘Harbledown Hope’ due to be completed by the end of this year. Within this post I want to take the opportunity to pause and reflect on this work so far, to celebrate the talents of our community and to highlight what an amazing privilege volunteering here has been”- Andrew Buller.

The full article can be found here

Highlights from Litfest, October 2015