A book of poetry written by older members of the community was launched last week at Windsor Day Centre in Imperial Road.

It was National Poetry Day on Wednesday - the ideal day to launch the book entitled Rhymes in Our Times, which was the result of a project launched in March by local care providers Optalis.

The book boasts endorsement from Sue Holderness, the actress well known for her part as Marlene in Only Fools and Horses. Sue lives in Windsor and has become an ambassador for dementia, drawing on her own family’s experience. She has written the foreword for the book, as well as contributing a poem composed about her parents.

Many of the individuals who have contributed to the poetry book are those living with dementia. It has helped them to share life experiences, and in some instances overcoming some of their challenges with memory loss and communication.

Julie Harris, Optalis Head of Non-Regulated Services, who conceived the idea, commented; “When you read the poetry book, you become captivated by the art created by our customers. It’s been a cathartic experience, giving them a chance to relive some of their fondest memories whilst being creative.

“To ensure they got the most out of the activity, we supported their creative process by showing them photographs and recording the thoughts that the images evoked. In another activity we invited them to reflect on their past achievements by considering what their hands would say if they could speak. We also held reminiscence sessions, encouraging people to recollect cherished childhood poetry.

“Overall, it’s been an amazing experience. The work in Rhymes of our Times has already enthralled readers, and we’re excited to now be sharing the inspiring work with the general public.”

The book is now on sale in libraries across Wokingham, Windsor and Maidenhead costing £10. Proceeds raised from the sales of the book will be used to fund equipment that will further enhance the provision of activities across Optalis’ older peoples’ services.

Optalis’ Windsor Day Centre also runs Dementia poetry sessions each week for their older people groups.