Hyphen-21 is the name of a UK charity founded in 1994, with its roots in social work and the principles that underlie social work.
The number 21 in its title refers, of course, to the present century. And the reference to a hyphen is derived from a book called “I and Thou” by Martin Buber. Buber suggests that humanity engages in two essential forms of relationship : I – It and I – Thou. With that idea as a context, we can say that the charity Hyphen-21 is particularly interested in the hyphen between I and Thou. In the 21st century, community needs restoring and defending. It is here upon a precarious bare hyphen that I and my neighbour, my opposite number, must come to terms. What human skills and qualities are needed there ?
Hyphen-21’s original purpose was thus to name, highlight and affirm, through examples and by degrees, the skills, qualities and values required to run a vital, creative and cohesive society of the present day. What enables and sustains human connection ? What creates trust in the individual ? What supports good citizenship and right action and truth-telling ? Where does true empathy belong ? What is it ? How can it flourish ? How survive ?
The charity focussed on two main areas in particular. One was social care in mental ill-health. The Hyphen-21 website sought to identify and explore issues and positive initiatives in this area. Mostly it sought to pass on examples of good practice.
The charity’s second main focus was on a project which displays poem-posters in public – in schools, libraries and waiting rooms. The poems are carefully selected and formatted and many are bilingual, by authors well-known in their own countries and beyond. It has been said of the bilingual poems that “here is a way to open people’s lives to each other.” The project began life being called “Poems for the Waiting Room”. Presently it is called “Poemsfor…” In 2017 its name is about to change again and it will be called “Poems for… the wall.”
For several years, Hyphen-21’s website sought to offer detailed descriptions and updates of its work in both its two main areas of activity.
But in 2008, the UK Poet Laureate of that time, Andrew Motion, launched a website designed specifically for “Poems for”. All the poems presently available can be downloaded from there, free of charge. Here is the site’s address : www.poemsfor.org
And, later in 2017, a site called “Better Mental Health Working” will start to feature the charity’s work and perspectives on community mental health work.
In addition, the charity’s founder Rogan Wolf nowadays keeps a blog. There he speaks in a purely personal capacity, but many of his concerns are inevitably consistent with those of this charity he set up. Occasionally, then, if Trustees agree that they further and accord with the charity’s aims and principles, pieces published initially on his blog will be transferred here. His poems often appear on the blog as well. Here is the blog address : www.roganwolf.com
These developments require significant changes to the present site and these are being made in stages through 2017.
The rotating pictures along the top of the site will continue to be a feature. They provide us with our context. We shall also retain references around the site to the various projects we have conducted, which have attracted comment and commendation over the years.
Hyphen-21 is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee.