Hastings Court residents take part in Poetry Together digital live stream with Gyles Brandreth

Our residents at Hastings Court Care Home in East Sussex took part in virtual Poetry Together sessions hosted by author, broadcaster, and poetry fanatic – Gyles Brandreth. The poetry sessions took place between our care home residents and the children of Bears House Nursery in Hastings.

The Idea

Poetry Together launched for the first time in 2019 and is a free initiative that encourages care homes and schools to connect with each other through poetry. The idea is that both the care home residents and school children learn a poem off by heart, get together, and perform it over tea and cake.

Project founder, Gyles Brandreth said, “The project is a wonderful way to bring communities closer. We don’t need science to explain how special it can be when people from two ends of the generational spectrum get together and have a chat over a cup of tea.”

Virtual Poetry

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the usual approach of hosting these poetry sessions have had to be adapted. Instead of meeting up in person, the sessions took place digitally over Zoom.

The morning session was kicked off by Giles Brandreth delivering a special message from The Duchess of Cornwall who sent everyone her wishes and requested a recording of the session when it was over. The nursery children started with a brilliant performance of ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ as our residents joined in with the actions.

It was then our residents turn who recited ‘The Pobble Who Has No Toes’ by Edward Lear which they had learnt off by heart. Lifestyles Manager at Hastings Court, Kimberley Mann said, “We were originally given three of the verses but our residents felt that, to tell the poem you needed all the verses which impressed Gyles as it is not the easiest of poems.”

Gyles was so impressed by the resident’s performance that he went on to say, even though there were a lot of care homes that had taken part in the Poetry Together sessions last year, Hastings Court’s performance was outstanding.

The nursery children had also made and decorated some lovely fish to hold up during the poem. After the resident’s performance, the children then recited ‘Ba Ba Black Sheep’ and similarly, our residents had made some sheep to hold up as a surprise for them.

Our residents and the nursery children both thoroughly enjoyed the poetry sessions over Zoom. The sessions not only helped the children with their language skills but also learning poetry by heart helped our residents with their communication and their overall well-being.

Hastings Court residents watching nursery children perform poetry through Zoom

Hastings Court residents enjoying afternoon tea


Find out more about Hastings Court Care Home.