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English students publish magazines for care homes in Covid times

Friday, 30 April 2021

English students at the University of Nottingham have found a novel way of staying in touch with people in care homes they used to visit for face-to-face poetry and literature reading sessions.

Before the pandemic hit last year, groups of students would regularly spend time in residential and nursing homes and also hospital wards in the city, as part of a shared reading outreach project run by the School of English.

With normal visiting banned for over a year now, the students have been designing and publishing a series of magazines that are being distributed to residents in care homes across Nottingham and elderly hospital patients at the Queen’s Medical Centre.

Student magazine for residents at Landermeads care home in Nottingham.

The magazines include original creative writing, poetry, puzzles, articles on local history and photo essays. The student writers have also been sharing their personal experiences of university and the pandemic with these older readers to maintain the social connections between the generations.

The magazines have proven to be a tonic for residents and patients who, according to one care home worker, are at the present time ‘in need of a little more sunshine in their lives’. The editions produced so far have been themed around the seasons or the year.

Third year English student Megan Bower, one of the magazine editors, said: “It’s been great that we’ve been able to contribute to brightening someone’s day with these magazines. Creating the bespoke newsletters has been both enjoyable and rewarding for our whole editorial team. With two seasonal editions already out, and a third, summer, edition underway, we hope these magazines have been as fun for people to read, as they have been for us to create.”

Student editors, Megan Bower, Maddi Maya and Panagiota Xenitidou.

Activities co-ordinator Deborah Young, from the city council-owned Oaks Residential Home in St Ann’s, Nottingham, said: “We have been working with the University of Nottingham for a number of years through our love of poetry. We have had the honour to work with lovely students and have built up memorable relationships. Obviously, the pandemic has hit us hard and we miss our interaction with our poetry club. Our residents have been so grateful to the wonderful students for this fresh idea of a specially tailored magazine. The magazine contains poetry, lovely pictures and even little profiles of the students. Residents have enjoyed reading it and they said that they felt happy and more connected to the outside world.”

Care home resident Brenda Lloyd enjoying one of the student magazines.
Dr Kevin Harvey, School of English

Dr Kevin Harvey from the university’s School of English, said: “The magazines have brought generations together – and my intention is for the project continue in the years to come, post-pandemic. People will always enjoy a good read . . . Devising the magazines has also given students experience of writing and publishing, an experience not only edifying in itself but something that will also help with students’ future job applications and career aspirations.

Many of our students are interested in publishing, journalism and the creative industries. The scheme benefits everyone!”

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For more information please contact Dr Kevin Harvey, School of English, University of Nottingham via email kevin.harvey@nottingham.ac.uk or Emma Rayner, Media Relations Manager on 0115 951 5793 or emma.rayner@nottingham.ac.uk

Emma Rayner - Media Relations Manager, Faculty of Arts
Email: emma.rayner@nottingham.ac.uk
Phone: 0115 748 4413
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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. The University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its status as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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