Community Programme

The Festival is very fortunate to secure funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to support our community programme 2015 – 2018.

The benefits derived from the programme from the participants are many. Working creatively is therapeutic – enhancing the mental wellbeing for the participants. For isolated people e.g. some elderly people we work with – the activity can be a social life line. What ever the benefit – organisations poets have gone into are always keen to have them back. If your organisation is interested in working with a poet please contact the Festival Manager on

The Festival also includes as part of its programme free events and puts poets onto the streets. This allows the whole community to enjoy poetry and creates a wonderful atmosphere in the town.  A strand of children’s events are often free are  minimally priced to encourage families to attend and give children access to fun events.

Community Poetry Workshops Open to the Public:

Segments: Join poet Sara-Jane Arbury’s fun, friendly and informal poetry workshops using art and artefacts for inspiration. An interesting way to spend a Monday morning in a supportive environment. No experience necessary.

Segments is continuing for the Autumn term at: The Museum Resource and Learning Centre, Friar Street, Hereford, HR4 0AS, Monday mornings

Women4Women, a women-only group meets at  The Meeting Room, Brewers Passage, Maylord Street, Hereford HR1 2DW, Wednesdays,  11.30am – 1.30pm. Join poet Sara-Jane Arbury’s fun, friendly and informal poetry workshops for women in a supportive environment. No experience necessary.

For further details, contact Sara-Jane on 07814 830031 or email

Poetry for Pleasure. A new group meeting in Bromyard. Contact Festival Office for details

Ledbury Poetry Festival is also running closed groups in partnership with:

  • St Michael’s Hospice,
  • Hereford Pain Management Clinic
  • Close House (see below)

If you feel your group or organisation would benefit from working professionally with a poet for increased creativity, expression, health and well being, please do get in touch with Phillippa :

Mary and Joe Project with Close House, Hereford

Mary and Jo

In 2014/5 poet Sara Jane Arbury and creative arts practitioner Toni Cook went to work with young people at Close House in Hereford. Close House is a Youth Centre in Hereford, in the West Midlands.  They  help young people aged 13-24 to ‘become mature, be helpful and grow hungry for a full life’ which they do by creating safe, supportive and inspiring spaces, both at their centre and at other clubs and projects across the city. Mary and Joe, a modern day version of the nativity story,  combined poetry, music and film and was a big success. The young people involved threw themselves into it and performed to  packed theatre in the 2015 Festival, getting a standing ovation!  We were delighted to be able to part fund this project and have been successful raising funds for a project with Close House in 2016, titled EPIC Women.

LPF, mediaSHYPP, Close House present Mary and Joe at conference

LPF, mediaSHYPP, Close House present Mary and Joe at conference

Updates to Mary and Joe:

Mary and Joe was selected as a case study showing”best practice in work with young people”. Mary and Joe was presented to public sector providers: police, social services and local authorities in Hereford in November 2015 in a conference entitled: Creative Commissioning – Making connections between the arts and public sector outcomes”

Mary and Joe was independently assessed for a research report on cultural provision for children and young people in Herefordshire. Here is an excerpt from the report:

The audience found this a moving experience, drawing attention to contemporary issues facing young people. A powerful performance was warmly received and rewarded with a standing ovation. Feedback heard afterwards was that it was a stunning performance, a highlight of the Festival and standing equally alongside the national and international performers appearing at the Festival.

This was a life-changing project for the young people involved, who included some of the most marginalised young people in Herefordshire (one was homeless during part of the project, and one had to withdraw due to serving a custodial sentence).

Read the full report here