Poetry Can was established in March 1995 as a registered charity aiming to encourage as many people as possible within the Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire areas to get involved in poetry. For many years Poetry Can has received the major part of their funding from Arts Council England (ACE), as one of its ‘national portfolio organisations’. You may have heard that, in the recent decision for the 2018-2022 period, several organisations lost their ACE funding. Poetry Can was, unfortunately, one of those. Therefore they must secure significant new income in order to continue as an organisation beyond March 2018.
The organisation is dedicated to supporting the creative and professional development of poets of all ages and levels of experience, and to increasing and promoting opportunities for everyone to take part in and enjoy poetry. Poetry Can present and support a range of high profile events each year, including Bristol Poetry Festival (supported by University of the West of England) which brings International and National poets to the region and provides opportunities for local poets to read and perform. They also organise poetry projects and activities with schools, and with a wide and diverse range of organisations and community-based groups.
Poetry Can works with people and communities that often find it difficult to participate in mainstream arts activities. The organisation has worked with deaf children and young people in schools to introduce British Sign Language (BSL) poetry, not only to the students but to the teachers, parents and governors to show how important BSL poetry can be to personal, social and artistic life. Poetry Can has worked with elders from the Chinese Community, with young women who self-harm and disabled people living in isolated communities in North East Somerset. They have worked with people in prisons and those living with dementia in care homes.
Find out more about this vital organisation and how you can support them here: www.poetrycan.co.uk