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This year's competition has now closed.

The Jo Cox Poetry Prize winners have been announced below.

We'll be announcing creative writing and photography winners at a later date.  
If you have any questions about your entry, please email us on the address below.

Proudly supported by Specsavers Healthcall, our popular competition is in its fourth year. This year we wanted your photos as well as your words. We also had a special prize in honour of Jo Cox

Jo Cox Poetry Prize

The winner of Carers UK’s first ‘Jo Cox Poetry Prize’ has been announced today, following a month-long focus on the loneliness experienced by unpaid carers led by Carers UK as part of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.

The award for poems exploring loneliness was launched in honour of the former Batley and Spen MP’s work tackling isolation through conversations across communities. The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, launched in January 2017 following Jo Cox’s death, sees MPs and leading organisations come together to shine a light on loneliness and share the positive steps we can all take to combat it.

Read the winning and highly commended poems below. For more on the prize, the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness and the winning poet, see our press release

Winning poem

The washing machine by Catherine Graham

Highly commended

The befriender by Louise Smith

Instructions for a new city by Bryony Littlefair

The biscuit by Jack Houston

Not lonely by Lorna O'Connell

Photography competition

This year, for the first time, we are welcoming entries of photographs on the theme of ‘This is caring.’ From portraits to selfies, we are welcoming all photographic entries. We’d love to see images which capture the hidden joys, challenges and day-to-day reality of looking after someone.

Creative writing competition

This year we’re welcoming poems and short stories on all aspects of caring, but we’d particularly like to receive entries on the theme of ‘This was not in the plan’. Sooner or later, most of us will face the challenge of caring for a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill, but it can often happen unexpectedly. We look forward to receiving your poems and stories which address this theme.

How to enter

You can enter one or more category with:

  • up to two poems, each no longer than 40 lines (you can also submit an additional poem for the Jo Cox Poetry Prize)
  • one short story, of up to 1,000 words
  • up to four photographs

The closing date for entries has been extended to 14 August

Please fill in the online form, or you can submit your poems and short stories by post*.

Send a printed copy of your entry along with a covering letter that includes your full name, address, phone number, email address and the title(s) of your entry to:
Creative writing and photography competition, Carers UK, 20 Great Dover Street, London SE1 4LX.

*Please note that we can only accept entries to the photography competition online. Please do not send us your photographs by post as we cannot commit to returning them. If you have any questions email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The judges

Once again, we are really pleased to have Cheryl Moskowitz as our creative writing judge. Cheryl is a poet and novelist, and a facilitator of writing for children and adults. We are also delighted that Bella West will be judging the photography element of the competition. Bella has been at the forefront of photographic portraiture for 20 years and in 2015 collaborated with Carers UK Patron Tiggy Walker on the book Unplanned Journey.

The winners

The winning and commended poems, stories and photographs will be announced in September 2017. We will celebrate the winning and commended entries for all three categories in regional and local press or radio across the UK. The first prize in each category is £100 in high street vouchers.

Anthology IV and photography collection I

We are looking forward to producing our fourth creative writing anthology and our first photography collection just in time for Christmas 2017. As this is our first year, the photography collection will be a special edition of Caring Magazine featuring winning and commended entries. We will also include selected entries of poems and short stories chosen by our trustees, volunteers and staff in the anthology IV.

In addition, we would like to print the winning and commended photographs onto large photo boards to use at Carers UK events across the UK and to share on our social media to help raise awareness of the daily lives of carers and their families.

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