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Students and the elderly brought together with poetry

Posted: 14th October 2019

students from a top sixth form college reciting poetry

Set up by Gyles Brandreth and Dukes Education and supported by Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, ‘Poetry Together’ brings groups of school children and groups of elderly people together to perform a poem they have learnt by heart.

A selection of Cardiff Sixth Form College, GCSE pupils took part with residents of ‘The Shires’ care Home, Cardiff Bay and came together to recite a number of poems under the banner of ‘Poetry Together’. The challenges of learning a poem by heart for both groups of participants, pupils learning in a second or even third language and elderly people battling with various stages of dementia were swept aside by the enthusiasm of the event. Warming up with performances of a few trusty favourite poems, including ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson and a delightful rendition of a Chinese poem, performed both in English and Mandarin, depicting the challenges and opportunities of growing old, the pupils became more confident and the Shire Hall residents appreciated both the performance and the excitement of the occasion.

The highlight of the morning was a combined rendition of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ which brought more than the odd tear to the eye as residents and pupils worked together to deliver a moving moment.

This very positive occasion was finished with tea and cakes – appreciated by all – and a chance to chat informally, once the ice had been broken by sharing a moment of poetry together.

Cardiff Sixth Form College is delighted to be able to work with The Shires Care Home and as well as the Poetry Together event, work observations and the training of CSFC students as ‘dementia friends’ we are planning future collaborations through poetry, music and drama.

The benefits were clear for all to see, bringing a moment of pleasure for the residents and a moment of understanding and empathy for the pupils. The Poetry Together initiative is one which we are proud to be a part of, recognising as it does, that communication and interaction between generations places a greater value on relationships and an improved understanding of cultures and age related experiences.

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