MP Robin Walker visited Worcester homelessness charity St Paul’s Hostel to learn more about the work done by a group using creativity to explore trauma and recovery, and to hear about residents’ volunteer work.

The Worcester MP met with members of the St Paul’s creative group at the Tallow Hill hostel, who explained how writing poetry and making artwork helps them to express their emotions and deal with past trauma and adverse experiences, aiding their recovery.

Some members of the group read their poems, with one member explained that “the poetry workshops gave me back my voice and confidence. It’s inspiring to write poetry and this has helped me into employment.”

Robin also learned about the group’s volunteer work with the Canal and River Trust, clearing towpaths and helping to maintain the canal in Worcester, while a tour of the hostel’s new therapeutic garden provided an opportunity to see a tranquil outdoor space for residents to grow their own fruit and vegetables. The garden is also used for outdoor arts presentations, cinema nights and other events.

St Paul’s staff also gave a presentation on the hostel’s innovative ‘trauma informed approach’ to residents, which has led to a sharp decrease in police callouts to the hospital – down 41 per cent in six years – and a vast improvement in the behaviour of residents. Exclusions from the hostel have also fallen dramatically, with just six residents banned last year compared to 82 in 2011.

Mr Walker said: “St Paul’s do absolutely vital work with homeless people and former rough sleepers in Worcester and have done for many years. It was a real pleasure to visit them again and hear about the important work Gerry Lowman and her Creative Group are doing, using poetry and the arts to explore past trauma and develop skills and hope.”