Ever wondered what the Celebrating Age Wiltshire project gets up to? Wiltshire Music Centre is the lead partner for this county-wide project which organises creative and cultural events in community settings like care homes and village halls. It aims to support the wellbeing of older people who may feel isolated.
One of the initiatives is Walking Words, a poetry workshop run by writer Ruth Hill has been helping older people find language with which to capture nature in order to write poems. Ruth brings a group from sheltered housing together, and brings in prompts from nature, like feathers and rocks so inspire them to write poetry together in their communal lounges – spaces that have been underused since Covid, but which are so essential for connecting people.
The workshops have re-ignited a love of words for many, and participants commented that they would like to continue writing once the set of three sessions finished; “I might write a book of poetry about living with dementia. No one really understands until they have it. Perhaps poems would help.” “Perhaps I can do this with the grandchildren – take them for a walk, look, maybe write things down.”
Here is one of the poems, written by Sheila who lives in a sheltered housing complex in Salisbury:
Weeds in the cracks
Daisies on the lawn
Blackbirds in the roses, looking for grubs.
Dandelions between the slabs
Walking Words is one of several activities run by Celebrating Age Wiltshire. The others are Creative Conversations – workshops run by writers. poets and visual artists in groups and occassionally on a one-to-one basis, Noticing Nature – a visual art workshop run by artist James Aldridge and many community events across the county from theatre shows to puppetry to folk dancing displays. Celebrating Age Wiltshire has a break for the summer in August but will be back with more activities from September. They cover the following community areas: Amesbury, Calne Corsham, Melksham, Royal Wootton Bassett & Cricklade, Salisbury, SW Wiltshire Trowbridge, Warminster, Malmesbury and Southern Wiltshire.