Carr-Gomm Creative Writing Project, Edinburgh
Carr-Gomm Scotland in Edinburgh has developed a Creative Writing Group providing opportunities for people to talk and write creatively together. It has given people across generations a chance to connect with one another about things that are important to them.
Carr-Gomm Scotland supports people to live in their own homes and to follow their interests. It uses a person-centred approach to develop and sustain creative, responsive and reliable services for people.
"Our vision is of a world where vulnerable people have the same choices and chances as everyone else, and are valued for their contribution. Carr-Gomm is committed to helping people achieve this."
Meetings take place each fortnight in the Central Library, and the group discuss poems, stories, objects and ideas that inspire them, before writing down in their own words what they have got from the experience. Then they share the writing with each other. There have also been various outings including trips to festival events and museums. The group is facilitated by a support worker with a wealth of experience of creative writing and running creative writing groups. Also the Community Development team help the group to grow and have been involved with its formation right from the start, from initial conversations about what kind of group people wanted, to ongoing chats about what matters to people and how they would like the group to develop.
Relationships and group dynamics are always strengthening. Many diverse group members often speak of how much they learn and receive from the other people in the group. People acknowledge the difference and the connection between them and speak of how rewarding this is. With the range of ages there is clearly an intergenerational element.
Group members are proud of their achievements with many surprised at their success doing something they have not done before. It has helped people articulate their life-stories, their ideas and things important to them, as well as allowing them to become more in touch with their creativity. This has had a tangible effect on confidence. The group are preparing to present their writing and tell the story of the group at the organisation's Annual General Meeting. This will lead to a pamphlet of their work. Good group facilitation and partnership with the members allows the group to develop at their own pace.
"The writing group helps me write more stories and poems. It opens my mind and makes me think. People have wonderful thoughts and ideas. The group inspires me with their amazing lives. Thank you Carr-Gomm Scotland for setting up this writing group."
"The creative group is the best group to be in. It helps you to concentrate on the everyday things you do in your life."
"I learn quite a lot. It's very good, I enjoy myself and love it - and it helps my spelling!"
"The group is a place where I feel able to be creative. It gets me in the state of mind for expressing myself in prose or in poem. I welcome this because I haven't written much in recent years and find it a good way to express myself."
"I think the group is the most successful group in Scotland."
"It helps people express themselves to write their own words. It can be hard to understand unless they write down what they want to say.
"I like the creative writing group because people are friendly and helpful."
Email: Michelle Woodall, Community Development - Carr-Gomm Scotland