Arts workshops unite Leamington’s homeless with others

Participants in the second poetry and art workshop as part of the Left Out In The Cold; Life On The Streets festival in Leamington.

Participants in the second poetry and art workshop as part of the Left Out In The Cold; Life On The Streets festival in Leamington.

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The flow of creative juices brought together people living on the margins of society in Leamington with others from the area as part of the town’s ongoing homelessness festival.

Poetry and art workshops, led by Margaret Bawdler and Jane Scheuer, were held over the past few weeks as part of the Left Out In The Cold: Life On The Streets festival taking place at All Saints’ parish church - and festival organiser Margaret Middleton said those who attended “got a lot out of them”.

Participants included those who are homeless, people who have an interest in art and poetry as a hobby and people who use the art forms as a therapeutic exercise.

Mrs Middleton said: “Art, poetry and drama are all very useful media through which people can express themselves. It can be a vital form of therapy for many people.

“It’s also a good way of bringing together the people who are homeless with others within the town.”

And while several of those who attended were very experienced in the art forms, many had never written a poem in their life. Under the guidance of the artists, participants were asked to take inspiration from the ‘Charlotte 22. Robson 46’ sculpture by Ginnie Morris and photography of homeless people in Leamington - both currently on display at All Saints - to create their own poems and works of art.

Mrs Middleton said: “I was very impressed with the level of work that was done and the enjoyment people got out of it.

“The homeless people who took part tended to go for the art rather than poetry workshops. The work they produced was very personal, but not necessary about being homeless - sometimes just about beauty as they see it.”

Among them was one man who, Mrs Middleton said, had been a “very good artist” before finding himself in his current position. She said: “He found it very enjoyable to be able to practise art again with other people - in particular, teaching children artistic skills. To see his face radiated by being able to share something with others was very moving.”

Some of the poetry produced is on display at the church.

The last event in the two-month long festival will be an open forum on Thursday (May 1), at which people can take part in a discussion on ‘The Way Ahead’ for the homeless and vulnerable in Leamington. It takes place at All Saints’ church at 7.30pm. For further details, visit

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