Young people in care who took part in an eight-week poetry course, called Spoken Word, Spoken Mind, read their poems out to an invited audience as part of Reading Fringe Festival recently.

Brighter Futures for Children worked together with local organisations to bring the project about and provide an opportunity for the children to express themselves creatively.

Led by local Reading poet Becci Fernley, the Spoken Word, Spoken Mind workshops took place all over Reading, in venues organised by the Reading Fringe Festival. Each week Becci inspired the young people to open up about their thoughts and feelings about being in care and to use these as a basis for some powerful poetry.

The idea for the project came from Connect Reading’s Kirsti Wilson whose organisation’s very ethos is to join local companies and charities together to help the local community.

‘Children who come into care often have adverse childhood experiences and find it difficult to express themselves or to make sense fo what they’ve experienced,’ said Catie Blundell, Brighter Futures for Children’s Participation Officer, ‘The Spoken Word provided our young people with an opportunity to combine expression with learning the art of poetry and the results were amazing,’ Catie added.

The project was part-funded by the Arts Council, through Reading Fringe Festival and through Supt Stan Gilmour, Thames  Police’s Commander for Reading, who support trauma-informed practice across the borough. That funding was kindly sourced for us by Connect Reading.

The highlight of the project was participation in a closed event, as part of Reading Fringe Festival, to 130 invited guests at The Vue cinema, Reading.