I’ve been working with the patients at Newholme Hospital since July 2013, when I ran a couple of taster sessions in creative writing and reminiscence, as part of a collaboration between Derbyshire County Health Service and Derbyshire Adult Education Service.
I was delighted to be invited back to run a whole term of sessions in September, and I’m now coming to the end of my third term of working with the patients of Stanton Day Hospital and Riverside Ward at Newholme.
I also work closely with the lovely Occupational Therapists, nursing staff, and visitors.
Every time I go to Newholme Hospital, I come away having learned more than when I arrived! And we’ve now been lucky enough to secure Arts Council Funding to put together an anthology of the amazing stories, poems and memories that have come out of my sessions.
At the start of this term in April, the current Derbyshire Poet Laureate, Helen Mort, came to do a session at the hospital. She really enjoyed listening to everyone’s stories and discovering the wealth of experience and local knowledge amongst the patients, staff and visitors. Here’s a link to Helen’s blog, featuring a poem that I wove together from our discussion in the session about Sheffield, ghost stories, and the post-industrial landscapes of Derbyshire.