28 April 2020

Like many of us Ruth was feeling constrained physically because of lockdown but her mind was free to wander and explore. She decided this was a great way to help people have social connections in a time of physical distancing. So she is collecting pictures, poems and stories to lift people’s spirits, help them feel supported and cared for in this time of crisis and raise money to support Guideposts’ services in Hertfordshire.

We caught up with Ruth to find out more about her initiative.

So Ruth, what is this all about?

I’m asking people to send in pictures, poems and stories which we will make into a short booklet. When the current lockdown has been lifted the booklet will then be sold in the Guideposts Community Shop in Ware, which is staffed by our service users. The pictures, poems and stories will also be shared on Facebook and Twitter to help lift people’s spirits.

I’m also asking those who would like to submit a picture, poem or story to the booklet to also donate on my JustGiving fundraising page. There’s no minimum donation required, though £3-£5 might be a nice starting point.

Why are you doing this?

I want to make the world a little brighter! Poems, pictures and stories mean people can create something positive in a challenging time. Sharing the poems, pictures and stories helps others feel connected and to see the beauty that remains in the world. 

Why poetry and stories?

I love poems that capture a moment in time and enable me to connect with a poet’s thoughts and feelings across time and space. I have many poems that I love, that reflect my mood and goals at any given moment. Different poems for different moments like different music for different occasions. I love reading poems by Emily Dickenson, for me she highlights the true beauty and value of life.

Sharing poems in a time when people are stuck indoors, their physical lives constrained represents a way for people to connect on a deeper level, sharing their emotions, thoughts and lived experiences. Poems represent connections.

Well said! How much are you hoping to raise and what will this money do?

My current target is £100.

Guideposts is supporting adults with learning disabilities during lockdown with phone calls and letters – providing that human connection that is missing at the moment. The money that I raise supports this work with vulnerable people who need additional support during this tough time and beyond.

That’s amazing! Can you tell us more?

We run work-based training programmes, teaching adults with learning disabilities how to use a till, serve customers and improve their money skills at our Community Shop (where the booklets will be sold). We also offer gardening, art sessions and befriending services supporting people with learning disabilities to build and maintain skills and social networks within their local communities.

So how long do people have to get involved?

I’m running this campaign as long as physical distancing measures are in place, to give people social connections while physically distancing.  

And how can people submit their poems and donate?

Poems, pictures and short stories can be e-mailed to me at rkilleen@guideposts.org.uk. Donations can be made via my JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/inspirationalwords. And you can follow me on twitter at @RuthKilleen to see updates.