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Every Wednesday we have hold a women’s creative writing group at Bolton Central Library. We are very welcoming to all women including those who want to help develop their skills in English, enjoy poetry and literature and the odd cup of tea!

This year we have performed on a few stages including the Walt Whitman poetry conference where we read a mixture of Walt’s poems and some we wrote ourselves, inspired by him.

Over the coming weeks we will publish some of our poems and keep you updated as to what we are up to.

Our Sanctuary Story Tellers have had a busy year. In September 2022 they performed the play that they have written and directed, Waiting, at Bolton Central Library. The performance was the culmination of work completed on their writing and performance project which was made possible with funding from Bolton CVS, who we would like to thank. Have a look at some of their activities and performance moments below.

It was off to the theatre in May of 2022 for our Sanctuary Story Tellers who went to see a performance of Chicago in Manchester and had a wonderful evening out on the town!

Step Up and Reach Out – Yasmin Ahmed

When life’s no longer straight,

but an uphill climb;

When the path once smooth,

is now rough and strewn.

Where once there was a rainbow,

you see in shades of grey:

Step up and reach out!

When you have three meals a day,

and your clothes are freshly laundered;

When you have everything you need,

but still feel incomplete.

Where once life was fulfilling,

now there is no meaning.

Step up and reach out!

Where once you sang and danced,

you lie tired and lethargic;

When once jumped and skipped,

your feet now drag and scrape.

When once you giggled, bellowed and roared,

you want to cry and cry some more.

Step up and reach out!

There is no sun,

only darkness prevails.

There is an achy gloom,

that follows you around the room.

Your heart feels tight,

and your head feels heavy.

Step up and reach out!

There is pain,

there is hurt,

there is inner turmoil.

A stuck record repeating,

Shame! Shame! Shame!

Step up and reach out!

Life is for living,

and not giving up!

Life is for fighting every hiccup.

Nobody said life would be easy,

and everyone is fighting a battle.

You are important and worthwhile,

you are worth keeping; staying alive,

So please step up and reach out!

For you are stronger than you think,

greater than you imagine.

Loved and cherished

like no other.

Never think you are alone,

for we are all one and one we are all

as we share this great planet,

our home.

So please step up out of your mind,

And reach out to those close by.

©2019 Yasmin Ahmed


Allowed, but not allowed

Old enough, but not capable enough

Oh how it feels to be a prisoner in your body

To be alive, but not really living

Wanting to, but not being able to

Yearning to do the simplest of things

So easy for many, but a dream for you

Oh how it feels to be a prisoner in your body

Being restricted by your very self

Hoping, wishing, praying

For the day things will change

For the day these invisible chains will be cut

For the day mind and body will speak as one again

For the day I’II truly be free

For this really isn’t living

©2019 Aminata Shaw

By Aminata Shaw

Every little girl is a woman waiting to happen

Nurture her with love

Don’t deny her rights

Then watch your little caterpillar blossom

Spread her wings and be another source of brightness the world so desperately needs.

©2019 Aminata Shaw

Untold story by Farjana Kabir

The girl hidden her words,

Underneath her mind

Layers and layers top of the words

Time passes and passes,

One day all words break their silence.

The tiny little word wants to come to the sunlight,

Other words say to the baby word, no!! You can’t.

Outside world not for us.

Lots of blood and anger there,

We all better here dear.

But I want to see the light, the sun, moon and sky

said the baby word. Then crying nonstop.

All other words getting confused

And finally they make a decision,

Yes they all will come out with a big roar.

That girl suddenly feels something different in her mind.

As like a storm

She failed to control herself.

She takes her pen, and then the pen starts the run,

She just can’t stop herself and her pen.

The story starts………….

©2019 Farjana Kabir

No place like Bolton by Tracey Odessa Kane

From the war-torn communities time forgot.

Mine laden fields that yet have not ─

Poverty infested, cursed by famine ─ rot.

They are seeking sanctuary in Bolton.

From the politically unstable ─ totalitarian regimes.

Drug fuelled cities. Lands purged of dreams.

Crime run capitals. Villages without the means ─

They are seeking sanctuary in Bolton.

From the innocent, powerless, defiled, lost.

The sick, infirmed, those who know wars real cost ─

The segregated, isolated. The pawns, the ostracised.

The mutilated, molested. The enslaved ─ desperate to stay alive.

They all come seeking solace, seeking friendship, needing warmth.

They all come seeking shelter, seeking rescue from the storm ─

They all come bruised and broken ─ needing kindness to be shown.

They all come needing family, having lost all that they’ve known.

And this I’m proud to say with a blessed and grateful heart.

This Bolton ─ Our Bolton ─ opens its pockets, arms and heart.

©2019 Tracey Odessa Kane

Now I see clearly by Pamela Spurling

She married from fear and duty

No power. No choice.

Now the struggle begins

Now more questions than answers.

She remembers a time in her childhood

When happiness was easy

Life was simple and full of joy

Beauty was everywhere

In the rays of the morning sun over the mountains

In the smile of her mother kind and generous

In the opening summer poppies red and full

In the snowy covered paths of winter

But she sees now the mountains were jagged

Her mother’s smile tinged with suffering and regret

The poppies packed with opium

The paths treacherous

Memory is wiser but unkinder

She now only has the freedom to live with courage and hope

For a better future for her daughter

©2019 Pamela Spurling