Kingfisher poets

The Kingfisher poetry group meets weekly to write poetry and then share a lunch together afterwards. We are a unique group of people, who care for each other and sharing poetry helps us to bond and to cope with the strains of life. We write our own verse, which can vary from rhyme, prose, sonnets to some fabulous wit. We are open to trying other forms of poetry also.

The original Kingfisher project was a 10 year collaboration between ArtCare and Salisbury Arts Centre, which began in 1999. The creative writing and poetry project brought people in the hospital and the community together. Working with poet Rose Flint, participants used words to get through periods of illness or, in a more general sense, to express themselves about life. When Lottery funding ceased, the Kingfisher poets continued to meet after the 10 year project came to an end.

The project still flourishes at the Salisbury Arts Centre, and it is run so that people who have minor or more serious health issues can attend the group and be with company that is in tune with them. Grace Gauld is now the group’s lead writer and Mike Rogers is the chair person. Grace is well known in Salisbury as she used to run the poetry cafe. For a small sum of twenty pounds every quarter, we are able to bring in another lead poet five weeks a year to work with us.

The Kingfisher poetry club meets at 10.30am every Thursday at the Salisbury Arts Centre. We have a full capacity membership at the moment, however if you should be interested in joining the group when a place is available, please email Mike Rogers with your details.


Poem from the Kingfisher project

All tomorrows
filled with blue sky
sweet earth
gives and gives

Sun enough
for daisies
the hills still green

Light folds me
in joy
these green hills
like loving hands

This wide sky
this land of green
five rivers
of life
my heart’s
with love

Highlights of the original project

  • a set of nine colourful poem postcards written by participants and linked by the title ‘Healing Earth’, delicately illuminated by Salisbury artist Laurence Rushby, Gardener poem pictured above.
  • ‘Confluence’: original works by Kingfisher project poets taking inspiration from Salisbury’s confluence of five rivers interpreted in movement by Jigsaw, Salisbury Youth Dance Company.
  • ‘Wishing Well table’ – a commission by Zoë Cull for the hospital’s Nunton Unit and a series of calligraphy artworks by Helen Scholes illustrating Rose Flint’s residency


Staff Photography Club

Part of the Staff Arts Club programme, this staff-led monthly group enables hospital staff and volunteers to get creatively inspired, to develop their photographic skills and share feedback on their images. Participants range from beginner to more experienced. Practical sessions are regularly arranged and themes chosen by those attending the group. See our upcoming workshops on the Staff Arts Club page for more details.

Hoodwink in Hospital

In 2017, Elevate commissioned its first piece of theatre made specifically for the hospital setting, funded by Arts Council England and Salisbury Independent Hospital Trust. Hoodwink in Hospital was born from artistic director, Stephanie Jalland, working as a regular artist on the Elevate programme and understanding how the right theatrical experience could ‘gently interrupt the hospital day’.
Hoodwink logo
The 20 minute experience using music, sounds, and even the odd dance step, unfolds around the patient, ‘sweeping in wind and waves, birdsong and boats’. Patients of all ages are enthralled and uplifted by the experience.

The show is so portable, that everything is cleared away afterwards (even the paper confetti) and not a trace left, apart from mementoes of the event on a patient’s table – a shell, a feather or a fortune telling fish and an origami present made as part of the show.

Hoodwink in Hospital also toured Yeovil, Dorchester, Basingstoke & North Hampshire and Chelsea & Westminster hospitals, with the one-to-one special experience for patients.

“You made all the difference. Did you see the smile on his face?” (relative)

“That was amazing. You never expect to see that in a hospital.” (staff)

As part of the whole learning experience of creating immersive theatre work for hospitals, Elevate held a seminar in December 2017 bringing together hospital staff, arts professionals and academic researchers to share their experiences of how the project has helped support patients and how it may continue in the future.

Arts Council England logo

Creative lunches

ArtCare offers departments within the hospital the opportunity for a free lunchtime creative session. These sessions can provide an alternative way to enhance team building, solve a problem or come up with a bright ideas.

A creative lunch break has also used to welcome new staff; as a reward for good team work; to relax after a stressful project; or to pick up new skills, e.g. as an occupational therapist.

“A very succinct and informative session. Lots of techniques for rehabilitation exercises. Fantastic ideas for creating anything and everything.”

Staff can choose from a variety of artforms including drawing, collage, mosaic and window film. The free session can be a springboard to the creation of an artwork for your department, if a suitable budget is available.

“It was a good team building experience.”

To apply please download and complete the Creative Lunches form (pdf)