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Poems in Pandemic

Poems in the Pandemic

  1. Introduction

In May 2020, an approach was made by Sunderland member, Angela Richardson, to SI Sunderland President Rosemary Jenkinson, to see if the club might be able to give some support to a project she is running through her not-for-profit training company.  Rosemary felt it might work better on a Regional level and asked for it to be raised with Joyce Chesney by Regional PA Officer, Karen Alexander.

  1. Background to the Not-for-Profit Company

In 2019, Angela Richardson set up her company, the Alliance for Care and Education (ACE), along with her business partner, Marie Barrigan.  They deliver vocational training and personal development for staff working in the care sector and their client base includes mainly care homes across the northern region (predominantly in the north east – Sunderland, Durham, South Tyneside).  They also work in partnership with mental health charity, MIND, to deliver mental health support.

  1. Details of Proposal

Angela is looking to run a poetry and arts competition for staff and care workers in care homes.   Angela and Marie have experienced at first-hand how the front-line workers are suffering mentally and wanted to do something to help.  They understand that these staff will need support in future, to deal emotionally with what they are living through.  They know that poetry and art can be therapeutic for many people, hence the idea of creating a book of poetry.  There will be ten categories and the winning entries will be published in a book entitled Poems in the Pandemic.  Ten poems will be selected in each category (so the book will contain 100 poems in total).  There will also be an illustration for each of the ten categories, so the competition will include an art section to select a front cover design and ten pictures. The driver behind this project is to get recognition for the hard work and dedication of staff, mainly women, working in this sector during this dreadful time.  It is hoped the poems will reflect the various emotions, including

  • Hope
  • Recovery
  • Isolation
  • Humour
  • Reflection
  • Loss
  • Bereavement
  • Observation
  • Uplifting
  • Bravery

A leaflet has been designed by our local CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) (attached) which will be sent to care homes to publicise the competition and encourage entries.  The books will be sold and the proceeds will go towards funding for mental health support for care workers in the future.

  1. How can Soroptimists help?

This proposal was discussed by Northern England Regional officers on 21 May, who agreed that this would be a suitable project to support and the following suggestions were made: clubs could help promote the competition in their local areas; members could assist with the judging of the entries, perhaps helping to sift a “long list” down to a “shortlist”; in acknowledgement of our support, our logo could be included on the advertising and an Acknowledgement could be included in the front of the printed anthology of poetry.

  1. Next Steps

Karen Alexander to discuss with SIGBI staff re potential to involve other regions in the UK (in her capacity as UKPAC rep, via the UKPAC network) to see if they would be able to promote the competition and perhaps help with judging.

For further information, we can contact Angela Richardson on her email or on her mobile 07756084763 .