Potent Whisper helps CWU members Rhyme for Rights

Creative Writing breaks down barriers and builds confidence. It is a form of self-expression and creativity that requires only a pencil and a sheet of paper.

With this in mind the CWU Education & Training Department were delighted to take part in the first Rhyme For Rights workshop with popular spoken word artist Potent Whisper.

The venue for the unions first workshop was The Winch youth centre in North Camden, an area that is extremely diverse but also suffers from significant deprivation and inequality.

When the Old Winchester Arms pub closed in 1969 it was squatted by a group of local community activists. Since then they have worked with thousands of children, young people and their families to improve their life chances, supporting them from childhood to career.

The CWU was very pleased to work with them to deliver a free workshop that explored language, self-expression and the world of work.

Paul Dovey, National Project Manager in the CWU Education & Training Dept was happy that the union was able to offer this workshop to members. Paul said:

There are times when this is the best job in the world.”

It was a great night and we were made to feel really welcome. Everyone threw themselves into the activities and debate with great enthusiasm. They were a really switched-on bunch, asking some really sensible questions and making some sharply observed comments. The future is in good hands.”

During the course of the workshop Potent Whisper led participants through various breathing techniques, principles of poetry, and how to identify and describe feelings about our lives.

Paul then led a discussion around rights at work. The group had many of the same issues experienced by many young workers; short term or zero hours contracts, low and performance-related pay, unreasonable and conflicting targets and non-existent health and safety precautions.

Potent Whisper than facilitated the creation of a group poem around the theme of workers’ rights.

Anna Braybrooke is Programme Co-ordinator at The Winch, Anna said:

We experience a lot of different workshops at The Winch and this was a real stand out from the rest!”

The tone for the young people was spot on and it was engaging, creative, fun and very relevant. A few of the young people who came are often quite withdrawn in workshops and it really brought them out of their shell.”

Potent Whisper was similarly enthusiastic: 

It indicates a strong desire among young people for access to information on their rights at work. I anticipate similar response to future workshops."

Paul is keen for other CWU branches to host workshops - and if you would like to organise a Rhyme For Rights workshop contact [email protected]