The competition was part of a bird watching initiative, which saw residents and visitors to Care UK homes and day clubs pick up their binoculars to count the wildlife in their gardens, as well as create nature-friendly habitats to encourage even more visiting birds. The feathered theme to activities was so popular that Care UK then launched the poetry competition to give people another way of expressing their love of nature.
Held to coincide with World Poetry Day, the competition was open to all Care UK homes and day clubs nationwide. Entries were themed around nature and bird watching, following the success of Care UK’s involvement in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and the British Trust for Ornithology’s National Nest Box Week.
Competition entries were judged by a panel including Care UK dementia specialist Andrew Potts. He said: “The poetry competition not only uncovered a wealth of talent, but the activity also encouraged care home residents and day club visitors to connect with their outdoor spaces and to enjoy all the benefits being closer to nature can bring – with the sights and sounds of the garden being particularly therapeutic for people living with dementia.”
Elizabeth Richards, a resident at Care UK’s Perry Manor care home in Worcester, was awarded first place in the competition for her entry, ‘A Brief Encounter’. The competition also saw three runner-up entries selected, including a poem written by the residents at Francis Court care home in Copthorne, an entry from nature-loving Jean Chesterman at Kingsfield care home in Faversham, and an entry from Paddock House Wellbeing Centre in Suffolk.
Perry Manor home manager, Mike Dearn, said: “We were all delighted that Liz’s poem was awarded first prize in the competition and we’re very proud of her achievement. We had such a wonderfully enthusiastic response to the nature-related activities and this competition gave residents another way of connecting with birds and nature. Getting closer to nature has many physical and emotional benefits and it was fantastic to see just how inspired residents were.”