Since October, I’ve been working on a wonderful creative writing project in Telford. ‘Songs of the Trees’ was funded as a pilot project for health and wellbeing in older people, and managed by the excellent Creative and Cultural Development Team at Telford & Wrekin Council. The project attracted a core group who have stayed with the project throughout – requesting it to be extended.
Every week we meet in Southwater Library, and then take a walk into Telford Town Park. We see the same trees, the same lakes, the same paths again and again. And they’re different every time. We’ve written Telford Town Park from autumn into winter, and now we’re writing winter into spring. We’ve been out in warm sunshine, frosty sunshine, thick mist, east winds and a couple of different kinds of rain.
I encourage the group to write notes as we walk, and there’s a lot of conversation. Back in the library, we listen to everyone’s notes, and I borrow a line or two from each person, which I take home and edit into that week’s collaborative poem. Members of the group have taken to working and editing their notes into finished writing at home. Most rewardingly, this group of people who didn’t know each other have become friends, laughing together and developing in-jokes.