Actor Michael Sheen has teamed up with a York charity to help young writers from disadvantaged backgrounds get into journalism.

The Welsh actor formed A Writing Chance with York-based charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The project, produced by New Writing North, returns in 2024 to create more “career-changing opportunities” for new writers from working-class and lower-income backgrounds.

Mr Sheen, famous for roles including playing opposite David Tennant in TV shows Staged and Good Omens, as well as movies Frost/Nixon and The Damned United, said: “When we first launched A Writing Chance, I was bowled over by the quality of work that was submitted and by the writers that we selected for the programme. 

“It’s clear to me that we need to continue to work hard to enable access for talented people into the arts and creative industries and to understand and remove the real barriers that prevent this. 

“I’m proud of the work that the project has done to draw attention to what these are and look forward to seeing this project grow into a much bigger programme for change as the work continues.”

York Press: Michael SheenMichael Sheen

Husna Mortuza, associate director of public engagement at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “We are proud to continue to support ‘A Writing Chance’. 

“This powerful project is much needed if we are to break the class ceiling in our media and publishing industries and to bring on talented voices who need to be heard.


“Hearing voices from all parts of our society matters, and both writers and readers will benefit from a widening of the lens.

“Unfortunately, talented storytellers from working-class and lower-income backgrounds have too often found it difficult to break into the industry without the networks or connections to learn and get published.

“This project helps to open those doors and to showcase the talent and perspectives of more writers over the coming years.”

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is a York-based charity that aims to end poverty in the UK.

Established more than 100 years ago, it plays an active role in York communities. 

“We are working towards our mission through policy work, research, and campaigns,” it reads on its website.

“We also resource and partner with organisations that are doing the difficult and important work of redesigning the world they want to live in, to achieve deep, transformative change.”