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Creative writing to support mental health

Robert’s learning journey began in May 2017 when he attended the ‘English for Adults’ class at ‘The Hub’ in South Normanton. 
Robert Gaunt

Rob had been battling mental health issues and low confidence and was assigned support from Andrew, an extremely experienced volunteer learner support worker.  This helped Rob settle into the group and very quickly his confidence levels rose.

It quickly became obvious that Rob enjoyed the creative tasks undertaken by the learners and contributed freely to group and individual work in class. This also carried over to home life and he would regularly bring in poems and narrative prose that he had written in his spare time.

When Rob discovered that a creative writing class was to be held in the local library, he enrolled. This was a very brave step for Rob. He attended on his own and quickly impressed his tutor with his thoughts. He willingly shared his creativity with fellow class members, inspiring them with his ideas and enthusiasm for combining written words with computer artwork. Rob firmly believes that engagement in creative writing helped him to begin to overcome some of the challenges of living with mental health issues.

Rob successfully gained his City and Guilds Entry Level 2 qualification in Functional English Skills in June 2018. He also completed the Reading Agency’s ‘Reading Ahead’ challenge and was presented with a certificate in recognition of this. He is continuing his learning, working towards an Entry Level 3 qualification with a series of narrative writings and poems based around the seasons.

Rob says:

“My motivation was to gain a qualification but because of this course, not only did I gain qualifications, I also made new friends and discovered a new hobby and talent for creative writing. The poems that I write - some bring a smile to your face and some a tear to one’s eyes

“I also did the six-book reading challenge for 2017/2018. I got a certificate and a book token and I got my first qualification in English. I am well on my way to next qualification and second six book challenge with the help of such a good teacher.”

Rob hopes that, by sharing his story, it might inspire others to use creative writing to support health issues in their own lives. Creative writing can help to open channels of communication to express feelings and frustrations that can often be so hard to express verbally. Rob was shortlisted for a national Festival of Learning award in Spring 2019. Well done Rob!