Lee Rowley has proved to be a natural born poet during the pandemic after penning a suite of remarkable pieces about his life during lockdown.
Lee is in his mid-30s and is a passionate Leeds United fan. He lives in a fully adapted apartment in specialised supported housing in Leeds.
His home accommodates his power-assisted wheelchair and is close to shops and transport links, which means he has been able to stay close to his beloved team’s home ground at Elland Road so he could always go and see them play.
Since moving in to Cornmill House in 2017, Lee has made a home, gained independence and formed new friendships whilst still receiving the care and support he needs. He also plays football as part of the Leeds Powerchair FC team.
Cornmill House was funded by Triple Point Social Housing Real Estate Investment Trust, the 16 unit apartment block is leased to Inclusion Housing, with on-site care and support provided to the people who call it home by Lifeways Community Care.
With lockdown and the need to shield as part of a vulnerable demographic, Lee’s usual raft of activities and pastimes were paused, all the things he liked to do that meant he could live well and live independently at Cornmill House were impacted because of the pandemic.
That’s when Lee’s love for creating lockdown poetry came to the fore. Feeling bored and fed up because he couldn’t go out and about as much as he’d usually be doing and with football matches paused too, Lee started to write stanza and verse as a means to pass the days and as a way to express his feelings about such an unprecedented point in time.
His pandemic penning includes a pivotal poem called Thank you. It is a piece that pays tribute to the care team at Cornmill House who have supported Lee and fellow residents through such unprecedented times.
The poem is a personal thank you to Paul, the Service Manager at Cornmill House, and to the whole care team for soldiering through, with recognition from Lee as to just how inspirational they have been and how highly thought of they are.
Lee’s lockdown works also include:
- The virus chronicles – written a month into isolation, this poem highlights the PPE shortage and how much Lee wanted to hug his mum at this point.
- Isolation – focuses on the frustration of lockdown and being housebound but with health as the reward.
- Tomorrow – explores the point at which the pandemic will lift and how we will all feel.
- Still not won – touches on the new normal we all must find and ways to smile as the tunnel gets lighter.
Lee is set to enter his tranche of lockdown poems into the national poetry and painting competition Poems in a Pandemic, launched to document the contribution of our social care heroes – in their own words and through their own images.
Lee’s story demonstrates the positive impact that Triple Point’s funding of quality specialised supported housing can make. Moving into his own home at Cornmill House was a hugely significant step. Lee was nervous about moving away from the loved ones who cared for him but he was also excited about being able to look after himself.
When he moved in, he penned a poem that paved the way for his creative streak. Moving On captured both his excitement and trepidation about the move. Here’s an excerpt:
I’m gaining my independence, I’m living on my own
It’s about time, now I’m fully grown
It’s going to be a challenge, of that there is no doubt
But I’ll grab it with both hands and I’ll give it my best shout