Dr James Byrne hopes his Creative Care project will bring some solace to care home residents.

Care home residents can now listen to literature classics recorded by Creative Writing students, with the aim of providing some comfort during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Creative Care initiative was the brainchild of Edge Hill University’s Dr James Byrne who wanted to encourage students to support vulnerable communities during the pandemic.

The Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing explained: “Writing is both solitary and social; it is usually done alone but its source material comes from the world itself.

“Writing also has the power to change society for the better.

“The Creative Care project was born during the Covid-19 global pandemic and out of the simple question: what can be done to help?

“I called upon students to select classic texts of their own choosing and I am very grateful for their involvement. I hope these recordings of great works, from Dickinson to Wordsworth, provide some solace and joy for those that might hear them.”

The recordings have now been shared with care home staff across Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region for them to listen to with elderly residents and include famous authors of poetry and prose fiction.

Rebecca Holderness is studying for a BA (Hons) Creative Writing degree and was one of the participating students.

Student Rebecca Holderness smiles at the camera while sitting in an armchair holding an open book.
Creative Writing student Rebecca Holderness shares her love of reading.

She said: “Reading has always brought me so much enjoyment and I love to be able to share the experience of reading and being read a story with others.

“It’s a lovely thought that reading an extract from a book might brighten up somebody’s day a little.”

Fellow undergraduate student David Colebourne said: “Great works of literature can bring a lot of comfort in uneasy times.

“Regardless of the emotional, physical or mental place you may be in, some words have a way of transporting you out of it for a time and, these days, I think that’s more important than ever.”

Tom Davies-Rapson, who is studying for a Masters in Creative Writing, added: “When my tutor James first emailed with the idea of putting together a series of readings for the residents of local care homes to listen to, I knew I had to be a part of it.

Student Tom Davies-Rapson, wearing a black t-shirt and cap, looks down at an open book.
Student Tom Davies-Rapson describes poetry as a “force that connects”.

“I would have been happy to have taken part under normal circumstances but I feel like the need for it now is even greater than before, given the current situation.

“Poetry is a force that connects: we connect with language, the speaker, and others in the room; we connect with the flow, the musicality; and most importantly, we connect with ourselves and the world.

“I chose a selection of poems to read which offer a praise of the world around us: poetry that looks at nature as sublime; and poetry that explores the beauties of what life has to offer, in the hope that it will give light in a time of darkness, and a sense of togetherness in a time of isolation.”

The full list of recordings can now also be accessed by the wider community here.

For more information about courses offered by the Department of English, History and Creative Writing visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/englishhistorycreativewriting