Book sales raise over £1,000 for Stafford charity

Pictured above are William Morris, director of House of Bread, local poet Hannah Brockley and Mel Wardle Woodend, Staffordshire Poet Laureate and director of Dream Well Writing Ltd

Over £1,000 has been donated to a Stafford charity through the sale of a book.

Hannah Brockley and Mel Wardle Woodend were delighted to meet Will Morris at House of Bread to donate the total proceeds from the sale of their book.

The Sanctuary book is a collection of poetry and was the brainchild of local poet Hannah, who invited poets to write something on the theme of ‘sanctuary’ or what home might mean to them.

Hannah then edited the poems and passed them on to Mel Wardle Woodend, Staffordshire Poet Laureate and director of local dyslexia-friendly publishing company Dream Well Writing Ltd, to publish the collection.

So far, the pair has sold over 150 copies, fetching a total of £1,106.87.

Hannah said: “We have been through some unprecedented times over the past few years which have brought an array of hardships to members of our community.

“Towards the end of 2020, while working for the West Midlands Ambulance Service, I became aware of the suffering and crippling anxiety that so many people were facing in our community; not only in regards to covid itself, but also to survive financially, with the cost of living becoming increasingly difficult as the world around us changes.

“I wanted to do something to help the most vulnerable members of our community, so I decided to use my love for poetry constructively and worked to produce an anthology of poems to raise funds for the benefit of our phenomenal local charity, House of Bread, which goes to great lengths to help those most in need.

“Thanks to the wonderful, talented and generous people I have come to know through my involvement in the poetic scene, who all interpreted the theme of ‘Sanctuary’ in their own way, it has become a reality and I am so happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish to help House of Bread continue its crucial work, it really shines a light on how important and special a real community is.

Mel added: “It was a pleasure to be able to use my editing expertise and time to put together this thought-provoking collection – knowing that all the work was for a good cause and would help make a difference for those accessing the Bread house.

“In a way, I was hoping that creating something tangible that would be preserved for many years to come and in perpetuity with a copy held in the British Library would create a sense of permanence through the book as a recognition to those who may not feel a sense of permanence in themselves or in their homes.

“My thanks go to the poets who generously donated their work, to Hannah for curating the collection, and to Sarah Hassall for creating and donating the beautiful cover artwork.”

Speaking about the donation, William Morris, Director of House of Bread, said: “The opportunity to be part of this incredible project has enabled House of Bread to support more vulnerable and/or homeless people locally.

“The growing needs of the Freinds we support remain a real need locally. Funds raised have enabled us to focus our support on developing our team of social workers, who support people who frequent our walk-in cafe in Stafford.

“In addition to the funds, raising awareness of our work has also allowed more of the community to know about what we do and many are offering help with volunteering.

“I was also able to discuss how we could work with writers to help provide drop-in events to encourage literacy and poetry reading.

“I cannot speak more highly of this support through a large group of people I have had the privilege of knowing.”

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