South Bristol Community Hospital (SBCH) has received funding for a 12 month Poet in Residence programme. 

Beth Calverley is a slam-winning poet, and ‘Chief Operator’ of the Poetry Machine, who specialises in nurturing well-being through creativity.

Each month, Beth goes to SBCH for a whole day during which she will sit by the bedside of patients and have a conversation. Together they will discuss memories, the gratitude and gratefulness they feel and their most beloved relationships.

After the conversation, Beth will reach for the Poetry Machine (scaled down to a prettily decorated hospital trolley and vintage typewriter for ease within the hospital setting) and write an incredibly personal poem. Oftentimes, patients will choose to gift it to their care-givers and loved ones as thanks for their continued support. Sessions are tailored to each patient dependent on their needs and the whole process is about creating new and positive memories at a very difficult time.

“Being the Poet in Residence at South Bristol Community Hospital feels like exactly the right place to be. It’s a great honour to work with patients and staff, helping them to express their thoughts and emotions. People often go into hospital at a difficult time in their lives, when they are facing change ahead in the future. They need to stay cognitively engaged, as boredom and isolation can be detrimental to healing.

"I work with patients who are recovering from various illnesses, including those who have experienced stroke, patients receiving cancer treatment, patients with dementia, and other groups supported by the hospital, such as carers. People describe our time together as a welcome surprise. They value the opportunity to create gratitude gifts for loved ones. Patients tell me that the poems help them to feel listened to and acknowledged, which is an immense privilege.

"Thank you to everyone who has made this possible, and to all the staff at South Bristol Community Hospital for welcoming me in with open arms.”

Beth also runs quarterly workshops with the Teenage Cancer Trust at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre and has taken on projects across other UH Bristol hospitals. The Poet in Residence post is part of the wider UH Bristol Arts programme under director Anna Farthing – a post funded for 18 months by Above & Beyond.


To mark Above & Beyond's 45th birthday, Beth wrote a poem entitled 45 Years. Watch it below and read the full poem here


Please donate today so that we can continue to support the #UHBristolArts programme across the hospitals.