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Poems in the Park 

Written by Rachael Norris, 3rd September 2020

For much of this year, Shared Reading has been taking place through a range of alternative methods, such as Zoom or the telephone. But last Saturday, several groups from around the country met up in their local parks to read together in person for the first time since lockdown began. 


The day was a welcome opportunity for groups to re-connect in small numbers, in fresh air and among naturewhere they shared poems from our carefully curated ‘Poems for Changing Times’ recommendations. For some of those attending, the sessions were their first taste of Shared Reading since regular groups were paused back in March.  

 The almost autumnal weather conditions didn’t dampen spirits or the enthusiasm of our wonderful Reader Leaders and group members who embraced their outdoor, socially-distanced Shared Reading experience wholeheartedly – blankets, camping chairs, hand sanitiser and refreshments at the ready! 

Reader Leader, James Hawkins, told us: “It was an emotional morning at our first face-to-face group at Calderstones. An hour digging into Tennyson's Ulysses allowed the group to explore thoughts about ageing, isolation and lockdown.  

Some of the readers had had very little social contact for the last six months, and one came prepared with Quality Street to celebrate our return. We need to work out details, but - in spite of the autumnal weather - the group seem to want this to become a regular session. 

A big thank you to everyone who took part in the day and helped to make it such a heart warming celebration of Shared Reading’s enduring ability to connect us.  


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