The legacy of a Leamington woman who “lived and breathed” community development work to help others is at the heart of a poetry event in Sydenham next weekend.
The first Art and Soul poetry competition final takes place at the Sydni Centre on Saturday September 28, with awards being presented to winners in a number of categories.
The competition is part of the Art and Soul foundation set up in memory of Jane Dobie, who died of breast cancer at the age of 33 three years ago. Well known around Warwick district, Jane’s determination and dedication helped to raise millions of pounds for helping community development organisations in the area.
Sydni Centre manager Kate Cliffe, who worked with Jane’s parents John and Veronica on organising the event, said: “Jane was a force to be reckoned with. She was manager at the Community Arts Workshop (CAW) in Leamington and at the GAP in Warwick for many years and she also worked for the Community Development Foundation, which allocates Government funds towards community projects.
“She also did a lot of volunteering, including running arts and crafts workshops for children during the school holidays.
“Jane lived and breathed community development work. She even had a community development funeral, so everyone she knew got involved and had a role. She had really thought about how to build a community within the people who were grieving.”
Jane, who loved poetry, had been particularly distressed by seeing first-hand children with cancer going through chemotherapy treatment while she was going through it herself.
Kate said: “She wanted to create a foundation that would provide arts and cultural activities for children undergoing chemotherapy as a kind of therapy. That’s something we are investigating with CAW.”
The competition was open to children from year six upwards and to adults and entries were required to carry the theme ‘You can change the world by working together’, which Kate said was inspired by Jane’s commitment to supporting and encouraging the work of community development organisations.
Entries are being judged by Warwick Words Festival writer-in-residence Anthony Hildebrand, Warwick Poet Laureate 2011-2012 Dinah Smith and Liz Delchar of Art and Soul. All are welcome to the event, which takes place from 2pm and at which the winners will be presented with awards. There will also be a free poetry workshop.
• Jane Dobie’s words:
“I am passionate about community development and community development work.
“This has come from seeing the profound and long reaching effects it can have on individuals, groups and communities of people over long periods of time.
“By recognising that one has power over how one deals with the changes in our own lives, then we can begin to empower others to do the same.”