INNOVATIVE writing courses aimed at giving carers a relaxing break from their demanding routines are being launched in Hartlepool.
The free sessions will encourage carers and the people they care for to read, write or even listen to creative writing alongside fellow group members.
The charitable Hartlepool Carers organisation supports people who are caring for relatives, friends and neighbours who have disability or long term illness.
Staff say that part of the logic behind introducing a writing group course is to give carers a little time for themselves in an environment where they can share their experiences and have fun while creating something.
Mary Mincher, who has been involved with Hartlepool Carers as a volunteer since 2005, is going to run the group having spent most of her life writing.
She said: “It will be fun, lighthearted and very enjoyable but it will also be very comforting.
“People will be able to share their experiences and stories with people who understand their situation.
“Writing has been a way I have coped with some difficult times in my life and I see writing, poetry in particular, as a form of therapy.”
Hartlepool Carers was recently honoured at the Mail’s Best of Health Awards for the vital service it provides in the town and the writing group is another example of its forward-thinking plans.
Claire Jewson, a volunteer co-ordinator at Hartlepool Carers, said: “Being creative is a great way to put your mind on something positive.
“It is difficult to think about your worries and problems when you are having fun and creating something.”
Staff are stressing that the emphasis on having an interesting, relaxing and rewarding time and that people should not worry about their standard of writing or command of English.
Claire added: “Spelling and neat writing are not important. Carers should feel free just to pop in and there’s no need for them to stay for the full session if they don’t have the time.
“Pens, pencils, paper and refreshments and a warm welcome will be provided.
“People could perhaps bring along a favourite saying, poem, picture, or anything that could be a starting point for their writing.”
The Reading, Writing and Listening course starts on Monday, July 4, at Hartlepool Carers, Lowthian Road, Hartlepool, and will run between 1pm and 3pm.