Croydon carers wrote powerful poetry to explore what caring meant to them in a free poetry workshop at the Carers Support Centre for Carers Week.

From a list of words inspired by their own caring stories, the carers wrote phrases associated with these words and put them together to create “Carer”, a group poem which tells the story of many carers’ experiences:

Carer

I question all the time.
Knight in shining armour,
jousting for victory.
Standing up for those
who cannot be heard.
Stretch targets and set goals.
I can do it.

Is it lawful, or unlawful?
I am your voice, lifting up your voice
to the powers that be.
There for you, alongside you.
Till I’m around, I’ll fight for you.

Fighting through adversity.
Strong heart, being vulnerable.
Getting up each morning, no matter what.
Strong and hopeful, marching forward.
I have to do it and I will.

Time will help to see it through.
Positive thoughts bat the dark thoughts away.
The sun behind clouds, the light
at the end of the tunnel. Reaching
for the light.

Unyielding, reliable, committed.
No sleep for the wicked, sleepless nights,
security guard doing the night watch.
The tick of the clock
as I get up to check on you.

Spinning plates like an octopus,
balancing a million to-dos.
Never too many jobs, driven by devotion.
Here and there, I am everywhere.
Plates will smash.
Standing up for those
who cannot be heard.

The session was led by Rachel Sambrooks, a professional poet, workshop facilitator and parent carer.

Felicia, a carer who attended the workshop said: ‘I was amazed how words from a group of strangers could produce a poem in the space of an hour that is meaningful to carers.’

Rachel Sambrooks said: ‘It’s so inspiring to work with carers and realise how much we share despite different circumstances. Building a group poem was a wonderful, empowering result and I’m so happy to have been able to facilitate that.’

The poetry workshop was part of a packed Carers Week programme of health, wellbeing and outreach events for carers, including dance, singing, Tai Chi, art, a wellbeing Carers Cafe and advice drop-ins.

All these events took place at the Carers Support Centre, a drop-in information, advice and support centre for carers in Croydon.

The Carers Support Centre is run by the Carers Information Service, part of The Whitgift Foundation, and is supported by Croydon Council.

You can find more information about Rachel Sambrooks on her website and Facebook page.