Poetry Cares

The Poetry Cares project uses the power of poetry to engage and inspire people living with memory loss

Safe and supportive

Interactive workshops

The project trains practising local poets to deliver poetry and reminiscence sessions across South West England. These upbeat, interactive workshops help stimulate memory and the recall of lost language. The poets work with groups of people living with memory loss and their carers in safe and supportive environments such as Memory Cafes, or in residential care homes. The sessions often culminate in the group creating a collective poem of their own. This paid opportunity for poets also contributes to the enrichment of their own creative practice.

from Fremington Manor

The Wren’s Nest

A recent example of our Poetry Cares activity is a six-week series of sessions at the Fremington Manor care home in north Devon, which took place in early 2024. These were led by poet-in-residence Katy Lee. Each week Katy shared poems by reading aloud to the residents and led them in exercises to encourage reminiscence and create their own group poems. By the end of the six weeks the residents had their created poems colourfully displayed throughout the conservatory by Katy.

You read more about the residency and see some great photos on Care South’s website here. You can read the residents’ collaborative poem ‘The Wren’s Nest’ here.

The Wren’s Nest

Enriching lives

Memory loss is often the first and most distressing part of dementia, a condition which currently affects 850,000 people living in the UK. By 2025, this number is expected to exceed 1 million.

Engaging with poetry helps alleviate confusion and speech difficulties, enriching the lives of those living with memory loss.

Throughout the project we’ve created helpful resources so you can explore memory loss and poetry in your own time.

View Our Resources
We partner with the Alzheimer’s Society and their network of Dementia Friends to deliver the poet training sessions and have been running the project across South West England since 2017. It was formerly known as the National Memory Day project.
We would like to thank the following organisation for their financial support:
  • The Rayne Foundation
  • The Kirby Laing Trust
  • The Elmgrant Trust
  • The Summerfield Trust
  • The Walter Guinness Charitable Trust
  • The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust