Hi readers

It all started when Bournemouth University and Mencap got together with The Friendship Club and offered people with learning disabilities a chance to be heard through poetry and spoken word.

We both signed up. Not only did it sound interesting we thought it may help our Echo columns be more creative.

Our first workshop was a blast and totally changed our perceptions that poetry is a bit dull. It was led by Jonny Fluffypunk, who is simply brilliant and a lot of fun. We all made up nicknames (see final paragraph) and then did a poetry rap about chocolate. Next, as a group, we wrote a poem based on song titles each of us had chosen.

Over six sessions we worked hard as we had to not only write lots of poems but also practice for the final showcase at Bournemouth University as part of their Festival of Learning.

I (Adam) was MC for the Showcase Night and although nervous, I think it went ok. Well, at least everyone was polite enough to say I was good! The others in the group performed our best raps, about what it is like to be disabled, and the Friendship Club, which got lots of applause.

What’s great is that the poems aren’t just going to sit on a shelf either. We will be meeting up soon with ‘the team’ to choose some to go into a leaflet, to be distributed in GP waiting rooms and the like. We think it’s a really good idea as it helps raise awareness of learning disability.

Finally, ‘Wildman William’ and ‘Admirable Adam’ would like to thank ‘Cool Carrie’ at Bournemouth University, ‘Bonny Jonny Fluffypunk’ and ‘Adorable Laura’ at the Friendship Club for all their hard work in making this happen, and for it being so much fun!

Adam and William are supported in their editing by The Friendship Club– a project for adults with learning disabilities, run by People First Dorset