AN Oldham opticians is encouraging would-be writers and poets to submit prose to a national Creative Writing Competition run by the charity, Carers UK.

Specsavers is sponsoring the competition for the third year.

The Carers UK campaign, supported by the Poetry Society and the Reading Agency, is looking for compelling stories and poems that explores the relationship between health, connectedness, and caring for a loved one.

Guided by this year’s theme, “Keeping well, keeping connected”, writers are invited to enter poems or short stories by 31 July 2018.

First place winners stand to win £100 in high street gift vouchers and £125 to spend on eye care and glasses at Specsavers.

Individuals can submit two poems that are up to 40 lines long and one short story of up to 1,000 words.

Entries will be judged by the award-winning poet, Cheryl Moskowitz, who reprises her role as judge for the fifth year running.

The winning and commended poems and stories will be announced in September 2018.

Those making the shortlist will also see their work included in the charity’s anthology that launches in November which comprises stories, poems and photography selected by Carers UK staff, volunteers, trustees and Specsavers.

The anthology will be launched at a Creative Writing Celebration event in central London, with proceeds of the anthology going to Carers UK.

Specsavers ongoing support of the writing competition campaign aims to increase awareness of its home-visiting service to individuals who are unable to make it to a store unaccompanied.

Shirley Carr, optometrist director of Specsavers in Oldham, said: “Through the power of poetry and story-telling, Carers UK can convey very special messages around the importance of connectedness for those experiencing isolation and living life with health issues.

“This year’s theme of ‘Keeping well, keeping connected’ really resonates with my Specsavers colleagues in Oldham who make home visits every day to conduct sight and hearing tests for those who are home-bound and unable to visit our store.

“Our colleagues regularly hear a wide range of inspirational stories that deserve to be told. We hope that this year, as with the last, that this competition encourages people to recognise the importance of home care, and to come forward for support if they have care needs themselves.”

Heléna Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, concludes: ‘Almost all of us will care for, or be cared for ourselves, at some point in our lives. Yet a lack of understanding around the realities of looking after a loved one can often make it difficult for friends and family members to recognise that they are entitled to support.

“As in previous years, the winning poems and stories will play a vital role in helping carers to identify with the writing of others and come forward for information that could help them.”

Deadline for entry is 31 July 2018.

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For advice and information about caring, visit the Carers UK website on www.carersuk.orgor email

To find out more about Specsavers home visits, call 0800 652 4948 or visit