West Oxfordshire poet Pat Winslow worked with patients individually and in small groups to help them find their voice and craft a piece of poetry.

Working on the principle that everyone has something important to say and that the arts play an important role in helping people find their voice, Pat listens to participants and pulls together poems that reflect their stories and experiences.

Subjects included reminiscing about life events as well as reflections on past experiences.
For some older patients at the hospital living with dementia, the sessions offered a special opportunity for them to express their thoughts and feelings.

The finished creative writing will be presented during Dementia Awareness Week from 8 to 14 May.
During the week staff and patients at Witney Community Hospital will be taking part in a host of activities including a ‘Joie de Vivre’ photography exhibition celebrating the joys of life, a music and movement session, cake sale and tea party.

Paula Har, clinical nurse specialist mental health and dementia at Witney Community Hospital, said: “It is so valuable to have this wonderful opportunity for our patients. Many often struggle to have their voice heard and valued either through mental health problems, dementia, stroke or other illnesses. It is a wonderful distraction from hospital routine and having the arts coming into the hospital is a first for Witney Community Hospital.”

The activities form part of the Creating With Care programme, developed by West Oxfordshire District Council, to enable residents, particularly those in vulnerable groups, to gain better access to health and wellbeing activities and has been funded from developer contributions.

Diana Shelton, Shared Head of Leisure and Community Services at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Older people have a lifetime of experiences to share and their stories can be compelling.

“Poetry is an inspirational art form and I look forward to seeing the results.”