Featured writer: Trisha Heaney

We are delighted to welcome Trisha Heaney, the third of four FWS members to be chosen for the My Timeproject,as our Featured Writer.Trisha says that she dabbled in writing prose until ‘the water turned cold’. She was encouraged, almost coerced, into joining Donny O’Rourke’s Poetry Classes by a friend who knew she would love it. The classes were exciting, very supportive and brimming with advice and recommendations. Donny is a patron of the Federation and is starting new classes this autumn.

Trisha began writing poems shortly after retiring. She has worked in all levels of education from primary schools through to teacher training and in various departments such as English, behaviour support, counselling and EAL. She has also worked as a co-ordinator for The Scottish Council for Single Homeless and run a voluntary halfway house for troubled teenagers leaving the care system. She has been working on poetry for two years now, sees herself back at primary level learning the rudiments.

For the My Time project Trisha worked with ABI sufferers. You can read all about this inspiring project below. The remarkable poem that came out of it (which shows Trisha has acquired far more than ‘the rudiments’) can be read if you follow the link below to the pdf file needed to retain its formatting

My Time: Visit to Headway House, Edinburgh

As one of the 10 people chosen by Voluntary Arts to visit a voluntary group and write a poem about volunteering my allocated site was Headway House: a day centre whose members had been discharged from Astley Ainslie hospital recovering from Acquired Brain Injury, known as ABI.

Symptoms of ABI can be a combination of physical (e.g.paralysis, loss of speech, co-ordination); cognitive (loss of memory, concentration… ) emotional( depression, anxiety…) and behavioural (apathy, aggression…) and unpaid carers and volunteers need to be adaptable, sensitive and respectful at all times.

I was scheduled to attend a poetry class and was so impressed by the volunteers and the members themselves that I stayed to participate in a quiz, music, board games and jigsaw challenge. What impressed me most was the constant humour and up-beat atmosphere. It looked like a party yet careful attention was being paid to ensure all were involved. A true ceilidh. I wanted to include all the voices in my poem to reflect this. The Odyssey idea seemed an obvious choice for people on a long, arduous journey.


© Trisha Heaney 2018

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