Alison, 52, came to Step Forward Tees Valley when her husband died.  Since then she has rediscovered her lifelong love of poetry and is now hoping her books will be available in local libraries this year!
 

“My introduction to poetry began at John Emmerson Batty Primary School, Redcar, where we were encouraged to appreciate and recite poems in class.   After school, I would often call in Laburnum Road Library and I loved to read books there. 
 

As the years went by, I kept busy with many things, but I seemed to forget poetry.  Then one beautiful day in summer, I wrote my first poem ‘Lavender’ in the garden of my home in Skelton that I shared with my mother, and a door opened to the wonderful world of poetry.  Over the years I continued to write more poems and got interested in photography. I got my first computer thanks to two kind friends, eventually I was able to return it and buy my own.
 

I eventually got married and the days out with my husband and our dogs resulted in more poems and photos.  A chance search on the internet, led to a self-publishing platform which eventually led to the creation of 11 books.  One of my favourite poems is called 'Oh Little Ruby Robin & His Secret Treasure Chest' – it has been enjoyed by family and friends who listen intently when I recite it to them. 
 

After nine lovely years together, my husband died, this turned my world upside down and resulted in an extremely stressful time.  I didn’t know where to turn as everything happened so quickly.  I lost all my confidence and then my benefits changed, so I had to go to the Job Centre.
 

Fortunately, I was given an appointment with Step Forward Tees Valley – an amazing organisation.  My navigator, Sally, showed me kindness, understanding and I was given the right advice to get me back on track.  There was no judging and a real understanding of my strengths, skills and talents.
 

With help from Step Forward Tees Valley, I felt able to start writing poetry again and I have dedicated my poem ‘A message from the highest order’ to Step Forward Tees Valley and Sally who has guided me.  It is also dedicated to my wonderful Mother, family and friends for their love and support, my late husband Keith and Mavey the dog, I hope it inspires, gives hope and comforts others.
 

Thanks to Sally I have approached the local library and I am hoping they will be able to stock my books soon.  I would never have had the confidence to do this, if it were not for Step Forward Tees Valley.”

Alison is pictured in her home with her first book 'Poems That Heal The Mind' wiith the following ten in the background.

FUNDED BY THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL FUND AND THE NATIONAL LOTTERY COMMUNITY FUND