Poignant poetry reflects on the challenges of caring through Covid

22 March 2023

The determination and dedication of staff working across Adult Social Care has been recognised at a special event (held 16 March) to mark the third anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event saw the launch of a new anthology of poetry, 16 Sonnets for Care, which was commissioned by Norfolk County Council and Skills for Care to mark the significant contribution and commitment of those working in social care during the pandemic.

Written by local poet Martin Figura, the poems are based on first-hand accounts from carers in the council’s Norfolk First Response (NFR) team.

Martin attended the event, at the Norwich Millennium Library, where he read a selection of the poetry. A short film was also played, with staff from NFR voicing Martin’s poetry.

Shelagh Gurney, Deputy Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Norfolk County Council, said: “We don’t want the contribution that care workers made during the pandemic to ever be forgotten and this book of poetry provides a lasting tribute to their incredible, selfless work.

“We continue to pay a debt of gratitude to those that put others first to ensure they receive the care and support that they need.”

16 Sonnets for Care was commissioned at the Social Care Day of Remembrance and Reflection in March 2022 and followed similar work Martin has produced on behalf of the NHS.

Chief Executive Officer for Skills for Care, Oonagh Smyth, said: “We’re proud to have these poems officially published and were able to appreciate these being showcased at the launch event organised by Norfolk County Council. This event marked the three years since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s important that we continue to recognise the important and dedicated work of social care workers during the challenges of the pandemic and beyond.”

Martin said: “This was personal for me, as it would most likely be for everyone.  My daughter Amy is 40 in June and is blessed with Down’s Syndrome. Social care has been a constant in her life, which is full and rich thanks to those who work in care. She’s not alone, only the very lucky or privileged won't find themselves in need of some sort of care at some point in their lives.

“This was particularly so during Covid, when staff where she lives, put their own lives on hold to make sure she was safe. Care workers show great skill and care every day.”

Copies of the book can be obtained at Sixteen Sonnets For Care by Martin Figura | Fair Acre Press. To see the film go to YouTube.

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