Eric Ollerenshaw column: Art of storytelling stands children in good stead

Eric Ollerenshaw MP
Eric Ollerenshaw MP

Last week I met with Universal Learning Solutions, a not for profit community enterprise based in Lancaster who are running a campaign to increase vocabulary skills, confidence reading and writing abilities in young children through telling stories.

The ‘Tell Me a Story’ campaign promotes storytelling opportunities for children throughout the UK and is working with parents and practitioners to encourage children to tell them at least one story a week.

Research has shown that children who use a lot of conversational speech with parents have significantly higher vocabularies and some also believe that conversation and telling stories helps children’s emotional health.

If you would like further information on this campaign or would like to find some inspiration for getting your child involved please visit

I also met with the new waterways manager, Chantelle Seaborn of the Canal and Rivers Trust, to discuss its work locally.

This new charity was set up in 2012 to replace the British Waterways Board and to look after the 2000 miles of waterways across England and Wales.

I was fascinated to learn that our canal here in Lancaster is one of the busiest in the north with 42 miles of waterway, few locks, great views and plenty of places to stop.

It was also good to hear about the amount of work that is carried out by volunteers, for example the work they are doing to extend the canal eventually to Kendal.

If you would be interested in getting involved, at what ever level, please visit

I was delighted to be invited to meet Lancaster man, Mr Powell and his family at the weekend.

Mr Powell, who was 92 this year, has been awarded the newly created Arctic Star Medal for his services in World War II.

It was great to be able to raise a glass to acknowledge this and the long campaign to get this special recognition for all those involved in the Arctic convoys.