An innovative collaboration between Ideas Test, Swale CVS and ourselves helped teenagers in Swale boost their wellbeing.
Ideas Test and Swale CVS offered an exciting programme of free taster sessions and workshops through autumn as part of Kent County Council’s Six Ways to Wellbeing campaign. The events explored how getting involved with something creative can improve health and wellbeing.
We were delighted that the brilliant and exuberant Dan Simpson joined us to run poetry and spoken word sessions with mixed ability groups in two Swale youth centres, which culminated in a short performance at a finale of the whole project. An overview of activity taking place across Kent can be found on the Ideas Test Storify and there is a tumblr blog dedicated to the project.
Dan was also commissioned by Ideas Test to crowd sourced a poem about wellbeing – read the result here.
Some of the poems produced during the sessions were extremely powerful, and we’re delighted to share them with you here:
A dare is a magical myth
A house is a salvation to those who need it
A dog is a companion to the homeless
A soldier is a sacrifice to the world
A key is secrets waiting to spread
A city is a closed box
The world is a trapped timestop that suffocates you
The mind is a mixed box to me
The Mind is a trapped timestop that suffocates you
You never know where you are
One minute you’re fine
The next you’re not
They say you are mad but you are not
Everything you do is a blur
You constantly get reminded of the past
You ask for help but no-one hears you
The pain you have you always feel
You cause pain yourself but you can’t stop
You give up all hope that you once had
You stop fighting your mind
You feel useless
It’s too late
The mind is a trapped timestop
I come from a ghost town
I come from a mystical place
I come from safe havens
I come from a dark place
I come from a circle of life
I come from my bed because it’s comfy
I come from a silent community
I come from unwanted visitors
I come from Facebook for emotional reassurance
I come from KFC where good will comes
I come from Christmas dinner where true spirits are shown
I come from a dark past
I come from depression
I come from memories with my dad
But what am I?
The power ranger it flies with a name
Of ice; nice and darkness and rain
My emotions are like a broken glass
The springs around the places
I want to say I love you but who is she?
She is the sight in my eye.
She is the blue bird in the sky.
She is the one who I like but she sees me as a shadow in a thunder.
It hurts like hell, but it makes me want to burn.
I see her but she is the one
There’s not a why cannot she see me
It is because I put my heart in there instead of me.
I will find out one day when the day’s out and when the moon is out
When the blue bird is flying about.
My mum is beautiful like the blossom on the tree
My mum is like a sister
My mum hugs are like getting on my onesie
My mum’s smile is like opening my presents on Christmas Day
My mum nags me like Simon Cowell on Xfaxtor
My mum shouts likes Gordon Ramsey
My mum’s socks are like the funniest thing in the world
She’s all these things but the best thing – she is my mum!
My mum is amazeballs
She is a kind hearted mum
I love her lots
Like Jelly Tots
My sister Laura
She plays rugby
Got mobile phone
Facebook all the time
Love my looks
Admired by girls
That’s my family
Mum, Laura and Me
Then here comes Matt
The money man
Works all day
Don’t even do the cooking
He even smells
Today I am feeling depressed
Today I am going to put on a brave smile
Today I am going to believe in myself
Today I am going to not finish sentences
Today I am in a bad mood
Today I am feeling useless
Today I am going to be more confident
Today I am going to smile
Today I am to care about life
Today I am going to be brave
Max dislikes Maths
At any time
Time to do maths – oh no, not again!
Have some take away
No I’m doing maths
I’m doing takeaway
Take away is not food when I’m doing maths.
I come from an old place and I think it is boring
I come from a black and dull town
I come from jolly people that make me laugh
I come from dress up and dancing like Elvis
I come from sweet and mild curries
I come from colourful clothes that show me off
I come from a happy life
And very emotional world.
The Six Ways to Wellbeing are all about doing more of the things you enjoy, with research showing that this can help improve your moods, strengthen your relationships and even add seven years to your life! It can be something as small as having a dance around, meeting a new person or learning a new skill.
The Six Ways are:
- Connect – with family, friends, colleagues, neighbours
- Be active – walk, run, garden, dance
- Take notice – be curious, reflect on experiences
- Keep learning – try something new
- Give – doing something for others
- Grow your world – planet care for its sustainability
You can find ourselves, Ideas Test, Swale CVS and Six Ways to Wellbeing on Twitter @RochLitFest @IdeasTest @SwaleCVS and @liveitwelluk, all of whom tweeted about the project under #sixwaystowellbeing. Six Ways to Wellbeing is also on Facebook, please search for ‘liveitwellkent’.
Find out more about the Six Ways to Wellbeing at www.sixwaystowellbeing.org.uk. This programme of arts events is being funded jointly by Kent County Council, Artswork and The Royal Opera House Bridge.