Birmingham’s John Taylor Hospice is launching a schools’ poetry competition as part of the celebrations of its 110th anniversary.

Children and young people across Birmingham and the West Midlands are being offered the chance to win book tokens in the competition.

The winners and runners-up will also see their artwork featured in a special month-long exhibition at a popular Birmingham café.

Organised by John Taylor Hospice in partnership with Oikos Café in Erdington High Street, the 110 Poetry Competition is open to children up to and including the age of 18 with separate sections for under 12 and 12-18.

Founded in 1910, this year the hospice marks its special anniversary and is keen to involve young children in celebrations.

John Taylor Community Fundraiser Isla Stroyan explains: “At 110 years, John Taylor Hospice is one of the oldest hospices in the country and this year we have a huge range of activities to mark this.

“And so we are asking children and young people to write a poem about being 110. It could be about a very old person or it could be a building, a tree or an animal or in fact anything else which fires the children’s imagination.

“Last year, together with Oikos Café, we held a children’s art competition and received around 150 pictures which were amazing. The response was so positive we have decided to extend this year’s poetry competition to senior school students as well.

“Our hospice is named after John Taylor who, as well as being a Birmingham gynaecologist, was also a poet so this year we are asking for poetry. We are really looking forward to seeing the wonderful poems from children and young people.”

The 110 Poetry Competition is part of the Birmingham-wide festival A Matter of Life and Death which aims to encourage people of all ages to have open and honest conversations about living and dying.

Erdington High Street’s Oikos Café will host the exhibition featuring the winning artwork during the month of May. The winners will also be invited to a special Café Arts Evening of Creativity at the café on Friday 15 May from 6pm where their prizes will be presented.

Oikos Centre Manager Ben Jeffery said: “Last year the children created some really wonderful pictures which were on display here in the café during May. We received so many positive comments from café visitors. Now we are looking forward to seeing the children’s poems and to sharing them with our visitors again as well as welcoming the children, their families and their teachers to see the exhibition.”

Closing date for the competition is Tuesday 21 April. Entry forms are downloadable from the hospice website and are available at Oikos Café and the hospice reception. For more information and full terms and conditions see