Food for Thought is our partnership project with Pret Foundation Trust. This provides monthly creative arts workshops for ex-offenders and homeless people on Pret’s Apprenticeship Scheme, enabling them to develop social skills and confidence as they prepare for permanent full-time employment. (This article is from 2016.)
Only 2% of homeless people are currently in full-time employment despite 77% expressing the desire to work.
Through our workshops, 60 apprentices each year have the opportunity to work with our professional artists. During 2015/15, they have been expressing themselves through Rosemary Harris’ and James Baldwin’s drama and writing workshops respectively, and channelling their musical energy with songwriter Aga Serugo-Lugo.
Kayley, an ex-offender, expressed how she felt the drama workshops had benefited her: “They give you a clean slate. I’ve proven myself because I know who I am now and I ended up getting a permanent job”. Have a read of some of the participants’ poems below as they explore feelings of isolation, frustration, denial and hope.
All I think about is the things I never said
All the conversations missed and pages never read.
If I wrote a book, would you look?
Maybe run away
Hot under the collar
Like a jumper on a summer day.
All these situations I can’t move past
All my dedication, isolation.
I can see the sky is blue
But my mind is stuck in grey scale
Not understanding, grasping, food for thought
Why are we fasting?
Time flies and we say it’s precious
Yet we waste so much
Procrastination is contagious
To feel is not to touch
The difference is similarity
Cloudiness is clarity, hot is cold
Young is old, selfishness is charity
You laugh when you’re mad at me.
The train by a fraction departed
My day was ruined before it had started
I can’t be late
I can’t translate
A journey once draught now slanted.
I wish I knew back then the person I would become
Wrong crowds invite misconceptions, so how can I blame you?
How can I show you your warped ideals
By harvesting the parade of my own greatness
Would you look? Would you care? Would you accept and understand?
Quake under this new friend knowledge?
Don’t be afraid of who you are.
I was young, I never had a chance to say goodbye.
See what I have become now
So I throw my fist and do a punch
I send down a wish from a place up above
I feel so empty but I dance my way through
Thick and thin when your good isn’t good enough
All that you touch tumbles down inside of me
And it hurts so bad I can hardly breathe
With a sharp knife for a short life
I’ve had just enough time
So I put on my best suit and play with my toys
What I never said was done
Fake face, fake eyes, I see everything in black
But deep down I feel colour
And that’s what he would have liked.