Insurer publishes poems to celebrate Britain’s carers

Gloucester-based Ecclesiastical Insurance has published its own booklet of specially-commissioned poetry.

The insurer has published People Who Care, a pamphlet containing new writing from four up-coming British poets, as a celebration of the work of the nation’s carers.

Each poet was asked by Ecclesiastical to visit a care organisation to see firsthand the work taking place there and then write a poem based on their experience and reaction. The four new poems, combined with photography from each visit, have been turned into a pamphlet by Ecclesiastical, a specialist in care sector insurance, and will distribute 7,000 copies free to carers as a thank-you for their efforts.

For the project:

  • Eric Gregory Award-winner Sally Read visited Rainbows Children’s Hospice in the East Midlands and wrote Ocean Drum.
  • Another Eric Gregory Award-winner Esther Morgan visited Rutland Care Village in Leicestershire and wrote Will you lift your head for me, darling?
  • Prize- and award-winning poet Paul Batchelor spent a day with mental health support group Thera Trust in Worksop, Nottinghamshire and wrote Here.
  • Broadcaster, poet and playwright Clare Pollard wrote Leckhampton Court following her day at the Sue Ryder Care Hospice in Cheltenham.

The four poets will each return to the care facility they visited later this summer and read their poem to the staff who inspired it.

Ecclesiastical’s managing director Steve Wood said: “Earlier this year, Ecclesiastical commissioned a national survey examining the value that our society places on carers and the work they do. The findings showed that the majority of people in the UK believe that carers are chronically undervalued – so we set out to do something that might help rectify the situation.

“Our aim was to create a document that sheds a different light on the importance of the role that professional carers play, both for the people they care for and their families. We’ll be sharing copies with carers and caring organisations throughout the country as our way of saying thank you for playing such a vital role in our lives and the lives of those who depend on care.”

Commenting on the experience, Clare Pollard, author of three collections of poetry and a play, said: “This was a really interesting and worthwhile project for me. Commissions are too often very prescriptive, and you feel those commissioning it almost want an advert, but Ecclesiastical gave us a fairly open brief and the central idea – celebrating caring – seemed to me really worthwhile. It was also a genuinely inspiring brief that allowed us to write real poems about things that matter – relationships, compassion, love, the fragility and preciousness of life.

“I’d like to see more businesses supporting both the arts and a cause that’s important to them in this way.”

Click on the link on the right to listen to a sound recording of Clare Pollard reading her poem Leckhampton Court.