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Trustees selected this highly respected foundation which offers residential courses for writers of many disciplines and with a vast range of experiences as a suitable link with The Barbara and Philip Denny Charitable Trust because we felt a strong link with Barbara’s lifelong works of historical writing, journalism and poetry.



Arvon Grant Report Aug-Dec 2020

Arvon is extremely grateful to the Trustees of The Barbara and Philip Denny Charitable Trust for your generous support of the Grant Fund. We value the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to enabling the most diverse range of voices possible to attend our courses and providing many writers from disadvantaged backgrounds with the opportunity to develop their writing and potential.

Who has benefited from your support?
Arvon awarded grants to a limited number of writers on a low income to attend residential courses in February and March. Below are details of three individuals who benefitted from your generous support this year:
A woman from Liverpool received a £400 grant to attend the Poetry course at Lumb Bank from 3-8 February 2020. The tutors were award-winning poets Antony Dunn and Rebecca Goss. The grant recipient is self-employed, and her income is low. She told us how much she learned on the course and how it helped her find her next steps: “Through attending the excellent classes on the course and receiving useful feedback from the tutors, I was made aware of the aspects of my poetry that could be improved and I was given the tools to do it. I also started several new poems which I plan to continue with. As a result of the course, I have decided to do a Masters in Creative Writing.”

Read the full report here.

Arvon Grant Report Feb 2020

We recognise that writers in the greatest need are unable to make a contribution to attend an Arvon course and need a fully subsidised place. Thanks to our generous supporters, Arvon have established three awards providing writers on a low-income a fully subsidised place on an Arvon course of their choosing. One of the writers to benefit last year was Julie Noble, who attended a non-fiction course in October, she explains the impact of attending an Arvon course:

“I’m a single parent from a working-class background living on a small council estate in Northern England. Receiving the Award was a blessing in a challenging life situation. I thoroughly enjoyed the course at The Hurst, so much so that I didn’t want to come home! The life-writing course was of massive benefit both on a personal basis and for my writing. The tutorials made me envisage a positive future I would never have pictured by myself; my writing feels more solid and my confidence has increased because of the tutors’ support. The whole setting of Arvon is a total delight and, as a mother of five who has been cooking for my family for decades, it was a real treat to take turns with meals and washing up instead of it being wholly my responsibility. We had some good talks during kitchen duty and when it wasn’t my turn, I had more time for thinking and writing! My time at Arvon was strengthening, invigorating and resilience-building. I will never forget it.”

Read the full report here.

Arvon Grant Report Aug-Dec 2019

“Often, it is actually those in the most challenging financial straits who most desperately need the opportunity Arvon provides to writers: time to write, in an environment designed to inspire, nurture and develop creativity. It’s carers, those on low incomes, those from BAME backgrounds, who most struggle to justify the space and time to write. By funding this grant programme, you are bringing writers and new literature into the world, that might not otherwise have the chance to ever be written.” – Grant recipient

Arvon is extremely grateful to the Trustees of The Barbara and Philip Denny Charitable Trust for their ongoing support of the Grant Fund. Over the last nine years, your vital support has helped writers on a low income from across the UK to find their voice, develop their craft, or to create time and space to focus on their work in progress. Your generosity continues to make an invaluable contribution to our Grant Fund and helps ensure that the most diverse range of voices possible can attend our courses.

In 2019, we awarded over 130 grants to writers on a low income, enabling them to attend Arvon’s courses. Below are three writers on a low income who benefited from your generous support.

Read the full report here.

Arvon Grant Report Aug 2019

“It was a very special experience for me […] I feel I have tapped depths within myself which I could rarely do before. The grant was essential for me, I feel so blessed to have received one.” – Grant recipient, 2019

Arvon continues to be deeply grateful to The Barbara and Philip Denny Charitable Trust for their generous commitment to supporting writers on a low income through our Grant Fund. The Foundation’s contributions have been a cornerstone of the Grant Fund for nearly a decade and have opened up the Arvon experience for hundreds of people who would not otherwise have been able to experience it.

Read the full report here.


Arvon Grant Report Aug-Dec 2018





“The Arvon experience seemed like a distant luxury I had no way of accessing, and therefore didn’t deserve. A grant made it possible to have a week to learn, to grow, to get better. I’m hugely grateful for everything the course has meant to me.” – Grant recipient, 2018

2018 marks fifty years since the very first Arvon course at Totleigh Barton, and we have spent the year celebrating our 50th birthday. We ran 88 courses across our three rural centres covering a range of genres and forms, from Radio Drama to Experimental Fiction to Writing with Ted Hughes. Thanks to your generous support and that of other donors we awarded grants to nearly 125 writers in 2018. This year, 87% of grant recipients had an income of £23,000 or less.

Read the full report here.


Arvon Grant Report Aug 2018





A woman from Devon received a grant to attend Fiction: Tutored Retreat at Lumb Bank in August 2018. The tutors were novelist and screenwriter Helen Cross and novelist and short story writer Stuart Evers.

The woman applied for the grant after being made redundant from her job at a newspaper and she also volunteers for a local arts organisation and writers’ group. Her eldest of three daughters is disabled, and she said, “we struggle most months to pay bills, food, transport and essential items for the girls”. She reflected on what she gained from her Arvon week: “It has helped me to see the value in the work I do… As a writer, I think the week at Arvon gave me a clearer sense of myself, of what I have that is unique to me, and persuaded me that my work is publishable.”

Penny described how helpful tutor and peer feedback was and said the course was instrumental in her decision to apply for an MA in Creative Writing.

Read the full report here.


Arvon Grant Report 2017





“I found my Arvon week quite life changing. It has given me the confidence to carry on writing.” —Grant recipient 2017

By the end of 2017, we will have delivered over 80 courses across our three rural centres developing writers’ skills in a variety of forms, ranging from Fiction to Poetry, Playwriting to TV Screenwriting. There continues to be a high demand for financial assistance from writers to attend Arvon courses. This year we have awarded over 75 grants to date. Grant applications reopened in August for courses running from September to December.

Read the August report here.

Read the full report here.

Arvon Grant Report 2016

“It has been the most wonderful experience of my life…I’m totally inspired. The time and space given to dedicate to writing in an idyllic quiet location made this week, perfect.” —Grant recipient 2016

Arvon is extremely grateful to the Trustees of The Barbara and Philip Denny Charitable Trust for their ongoing support of our Grants Scheme. We value the relationship with the Trust highly and are thrilled that the Trustees have decided to increase their annual contribution from £5,000 to £6,000 enabling more writers facing disadvantaged and challenging lives the opportunity to participate in an Arvon course.

Read the full report here.

Grant Report 2015

“Without the grant I could not have come to the course. The grant system also makes the course more eclectic. Not everyone who is a gifted writer has been successful enough in the real world to afford the fee, so the grants bring greater variety and a bigger range of experience to the group.” –Grant recipient 2015

Your ongoing commitment has been vital in ensuring that Arvon courses remain open to everyone – regardless of age, background, income, or ability. The continued support of a handful of Trusts, including The Barbara and Philip Denny Charitable Trust has enabled Arvon to grow our grant fund in 2015 to £54,000. Despite the increase of the fund, demand for financial assistance has remained high. Arvon will continue to identify ways in which we can grow this pot to meet demand over the next few years.

Read the full report here.