Edenholme Lockdown Poetry Group celebrate launch of anthology

By bellmannews / July 19, 2021
Shiela D'Agostino holding the booklet

From Aberdeenshire Health & Social Care Partnership

AN ANTHOLOGY of the work of the Edenholme ‘Lockdown Poetry Group’ was recently launched.

Over the last year residents at Edenholme Care Home in Stonehaven have been meeting and collaborating to write poetry about their thoughts and feelings, particularly those they have had during the pandemic. The group was hosted and supported by workers from Aberdeenshire Council’s Community Learning and Development Team (CLD), in particular Ed Garrett and Alistair Lawrie.

Ed along with Alistair were redeployed at the beginning of the pandemic to help support at Edenholme and quickly found a group of residents with a shared joy of reading and writing poetry. With Ed and Alistair’s help and support the group have, together, penned a number of insightful poems which have been gathered together in a short volume which has been recently published.

Ed Garrett, said: “Finding myself re-deployed to Edenholme at the beginning of the pandemic I initially asked the residents what activities they would like to do. There was very little contact for the residents with the outside world at the time and we came up with the idea of a poetry group amongst other activities. This weekly group, supported by the incredible staff at the home, quickly became popular as a way for residents to get together, be creative and have some fun, and share memories and favourite poems’

The group met on a Friday and were supported by Ed and Alistair to write poetry in a collaborative way, supporting each other to share their thoughts and feelings by putting pen to paper.

Ruth Forbes enjoying a poem

Community Learning and Development Worker, Alistair Lawrie, said: “We all have stories to rell, things to say, and the skill to say them powerfully if we give ourselves permission and that has never been more necessary than during this last year. Folk here who felt Isolated were able to stay in touch with their own feelings, each other and particularly their memories.

“Writing these poems provided an important outlet for those feelings and has ensured their views are heard outside the Home and indeed nationally. As importantly the process of writing collectively ensured that all voices were heard thereby enshrining inclusion at the heart of what was created. Perhaps most important of all was the fun we all had doing it.”

Amanda McRae, Care Home Manager at Edenholme, said: “Having Ed and Alistair from Community Learning and Development and the Live Life Aberdeenshire people, supporting us to care for our residents has been nothing short of a godsend. All of the staff that were redeployed to us have been fantastic and have done so much to help residents combat the isolation that has unfortunately come with the restrictions.

“The residents who took part in the poetry group got so much out of it and having a booklet to share their work with friends and families is just fantastic. I really can’t thank Ed and Alistair enough for the hard work and commitment they have shown to the home and more importantly to our wonderful residents.”

The production of the anthology booklet was also supported by the Stonehaven Lions with a generous donation to cover the cost of printing and producing the booklet.