A former Birmingham Poet Laureate has used her skills to host a grief writing workshop for staff at the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands.
Charlie Jordan hosted the History of Birmingham quiz round at the West Midlands Brain Game in October 2022. And having been hugely impressed by the work of the charity, offered to visit the hospice, and run the workshop for its team of specialist bereavement counsellors and volunteers.
The team based at Marsh Lane provide support to patients at the end of life and help their loved ones with their grief. This includes counselling but the hospice also runs support groups such as Walk and Talk sessions and Men’s Shed. A group of 10 people were guided by Charlie to use mindfulness techniques to calm any nerves before working on a range of writing exercises including writing Haiku poems and gratitude journaling.
The group were encouraged to share their writing with each other throughout the session which many did. Some who did not think they were 'writers' were surprised by the quality and depth of what was produced in such a short space of time.
Charlie commented: “From my work as a funeral Celebrant, I know how important stories are and to share them. Sometimes people need a little help in how to tell those precious stories and it can help to write them down, especially when we lose someone we love.
“I already knew from many families just how important Marie Curie hospice services had been for them at their darkest times. They bring light, hope and a shoulder to lean or cry on during difficult days and are there for family and friends as well as those who have life limiting conditions.
“I have been doing writing workshops since being Birmingham Poet Laureate a decade ago and I realised I could create something that would help bereaved families. It was lovely to see the Counsellors and Volunteers all joining in and sharing their own creations.”
Head of Bereavement Services at the Hospice, Jane Murray, said: “Charlie demonstrated the powerful way in which creative writing exercises can be used to support those going through bereavement and grief. Our hope is that the team will go on to use these techniques with those receiving counselling at the hospice, as part of their ongoing commitment to provide the best support to bereaved families.”
The West Midlands Hospice on Marsh Lane is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, in that time it has provided end-of life-care for nearly 10,000 patients with a terminal illness in its purpose-built building, relocating from the old Warren Pearl site on Warwick Road in 2013.