The Pop-Up Poetry Project

27 February 2015

Local people living with a disability in Newham, East London, are joining up through a weekly poetry workshop to build their self-confidence and make new connections in the community, as well as developing their literacy and creative skills.

With funding of £11,100 from People’s Health Trust, using money raised by HealthLives through The Health Lottery, The Pop-Up Poetry Project is helping local disabled people to create a regular social space for other vulnerable people at their Pop-Up Poetry Café.

Sarah, Workshop Leader, said: “I had a breakdown myself, and part of my recovery was to explore my creativity – which included poetry. We want everyone to have the opportunity to be creative, whatever their ability.

“After discussing five or six poems in the workshops, we then write our own, and share them in the monthly Poetry Café. We have a little bite to eat, share our poems, and generally have a laugh together.

“When funding for local services stopped, many of them had to close, so we’ve encouraged people who used them to come to the Pop-Up Poetry Café. 

“One lady who is particularly fragile has reported feeling stronger as a result of the sessions, and some of the group members have noticed a real improvement in their literacy skills, which has helped them with college course applications. 

“We also have two ladies who made friends at the group, and now share a bus ride together back to Stratford from the Café. The group really is open to everyone, and has a very welcoming atmosphere.”

Activities at the group also include visits to poetry evening events across London, alongside the monthly Pop-Up Poetry Café. 

Dr Ju Gosling, Artistic Director at the project, said: “The Pop-Up Poetry Project helps disabled adults from across cultural communities and impairment groups to work together to develop our self-esteem and self-confidence. This in turn enables us to do more for themselves, and best of all, the group is extending people’s social networks, and creating a wider chain of support for local disabled residents.”


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