People currently not in work or education have the chance to bring Oxford’s rich literary history and mythological tales to life, thanks to a unique volunteer training programme run by The Story Museum.

Twenty places are available for adults aged between 18 and 65 on the museum’s new Heritage Story Skills course, where they will learn about Oxford’s story heritage, learn about storytelling, delve into some of Oxford’s stories — historic and fantastical — and develop research skills.

They’ll then design and deliver ‘story tours’ of Oxford city centre and create learning resources for visitors. The training will be fun, free and accessible and could open doors to job opportunities and further learning.

The Story Museum hopes to attract applicants from areas with high levels of skill and employment deprivation. The project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Story Museum’s Jane Cockcroft, who is running the programme, said: “We’re thrilled that the Heritage Lottery Fund has recognised, through its support, the contribution that story makes to our collective heritage. Our volunteer storytellers will find out about Oxford’s stories — both historic and fantastical — learn how to re-tell them and become ‘Story Guides’ connecting stories to places in Oxford.

"Through the process of the training they’ll also develop skills to enable them to create a variety of learning resources. In this way they will bring Oxford’s story heritage to life for visitors on their tours, and for people in their communities.

“The aspiring story guides will focus on three acclaimed fantasy writers, all connected to Oxford: Lewis Carroll, J R R Tolkien, and C S Lewis. They’ll also discover Oxford myths, legends and ghost stories as well as visit museums and explore objects connected with their subject material. Anyone who is interested in stories and Oxford’s history will enjoy this training with a difference.”

Training will be two days a week during school hours, for 12 weeks starting in September. A childcare fund is available for parents of young children and bus fares and lunch allowance are also included. By the end of the course, the volunteer storytellers will have acquired certification in ‘Heritage Storytelling’, giving them heritage knowledge and transferable skills.

Anyone interested in joining the scheme should register their interest by August 20 by email or call 01865 790059 — only 20 places are available, so get in touch now.

Visit for more details about the Story Museum.