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Creative writing anthology shines a light on experiences of caring for loved one

22 February 2019

Today Carers UK, the charity for unpaid carers, showcases entries in its fifth annual creative writing competition in a new anthology titled ‘Keeping Well, Keeping Connected

The anthology includes imaginative stories and inspired poems depicting the highs and lows of caring and being cared for.

For the last five years Carers UK has held an annual creative writing competition, inviting entries from both the general public and the country’s 6.5 million unpaid carers to portray what it’s like to support a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill. 

Black Bear aka Carers Burnout* is a poem written by Melanie Lewis-Clubbe who cared for her mother, who has dementia, for four years until she needed 24 hour care and moved to a nursing home.

Melanie wrote the poem when reaching a low point while caring for her mother. Receiving positive feedback on her poetry has given her the impetus to write more poetry about caring. 

I’m not a carer** is a poem written by Karen Ward, who leads the Carers Network at Nationwide Building Society’s administration centre, to help working carers identify themselves, find out about practical and emotional support available at work and know they are not alone in facing the challenges of juggling work and care.

Karen provides a safe place for carers to discuss their caring roles, arranging carer's assessments and raising awareness with management and delivering workshops.

Carers UK hopes the anthology will help raise awareness of the realities of looking after someone, as well as provide an escape and creative outlet for those currently caring.

Michael Shann, founder of the charity’s creative writing competition and Head of Membership and Volunteering at Carers UK, said:

 “At some point in our lives, many of us will care for a loved one or need care ourselves, yet caring often remains a hidden issue.

“This collection of poignant poems and short stories tell us about the joys that can be experienced, the learning that comes with caring, and the way it changes us. They also show the resilience and courage that can be required.

“We hope our new anthology shines a light on the enormous contribution carers make around the country and helps to raise awareness of the support Carers UK provides.”

The anthology includes 39 of the 500 entries in the 2018 creative writing competition which were received from far and wide, from experienced writers as well as those who’ve recently picked up writing as a hobby.

The collection can be bought for £5 in the Carers UK online shop: http://www.shopcarersuk.org/en/products/view-products/books/creative-writing-anthology-vol-5.

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