From April 2016 the Foyle Foundation allocated to HHT an annual payment to create The Skoyles Bursaries Fund. This has enabled us to offer up to £1,000 pcm personal bursary (or pro rata for shorter periods) to our appointed residents to be spent on whatever is needed; this is in the manner of a prize and is normally tax free.
The HHT is unique in the UK in offering not only a retreat but also unrestricted bursary money. However, while our residencies are based on excellence and need, very occasionally we make different arrangements with specific writers who have no financial need but who wish to pay us for the privacy and convenience of Church Cottage. Alternatively, some writers are sponsored by Arts Council England or by their publishers, but for those in need we offer financial assistance.
The length of each residence is based upon what women request; many have complicated domestic, personal and professional lives and ask to make several short visits while some writers have no home in the UK and ask for a longer period, and all these factors we accommodate. Each resident is visited and mentored by a trustee and their return, which is often requested, is at the discretion of this trustee and normally restricted to three visits.
In 2018 and again in 2019, we are collaborating with Coventry University Faculty of Arts Humanities on two residencies. Some appointments in the past have been made collaboratively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and annually we house the poet appointed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust as the poet in residence for the Poetry Festival. We also in 2016/17 and 2017/18 allocate first prize and a residency to Words and Women, a literary enterprise for women’s writing in East Anglia and support Stroud Book Festival with prize money for their 2018 programme.
During 2017/18 we commissioned ten writers to contribute stories to an anthology based on the village and the sonnet of Michael Drayton, the Tudor poet forever associated with this place. Entitled Kiss and Part, it is to be a companion to the historical study we made of our area, Round the Square and Up the Tower: Clifford Chambers, Warwickshire. It is expected to be published in spring 2019.