Live poetry readings tackle loneliness & isolation issues for older people

Live poetry readings tackle loneliness & isolation issues for older people

The renowned work of Philip Larkin reverberated around East Yorkshire-based Pickering and Ferens Homes, when sixth form students launched a series of live poetry readings for the over-60s living in their properties.

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Whitsun Weddings, a collection of 32 poems by Hull’s most famous wordsmith. Now those poems have been brought to life for the residents of the housing association, which has more than 1,200 properties across the region.

Pickering and Ferens Homes welcomed students from Wyke College, in Hull, into one of its sheltered housing schemes to read the poems to residents to mark the start of a longer term working relationship between the two organisations

It’s part of a new initiative from the East Yorkshire-based independent housing association to tackle loneliness and isolation. Many people over the age of 60 suffer from issues surrounding being alone. Pickering and Ferens Homes aims to tackle this head-on with events such as the live poetry readings.

Claire Warren, chief executive of Pickering and Ferens Homes, said: “Whitsun Weddings is an iconic piece of work that was produced here in Hull, and it has been given new life by local students.

“This was the first of what I hope will be many stimulating and enjoyable events, bringing together residents who may not otherwise get the opportunity to socialise. Pickering and Ferens Homes understands the serious issues surrounding isolation. Events like this really can be a lifeline for the over-60s.”

Belinda Hakes, an English teacher at Wyke Sixth Form College, said: “This event was wonderful both for residents within Pickering and Ferens Homes’ sheltered accommodation and for students at Wyke.

“I am also Education Officer of the Larkin Society, so I have a particular passion for his poetry. It comes alive when read aloud, so what better way than for sixth formers to take this kind of project into the community and perform a valuable service for older people?”