Thornton Heath

Thornton Heath Spoken Word Poet Shaniqua Benjamin and Turf Projects invites you to weave your wishes and words about Thornton Heath into your very own poem.

  ‘I Wish….Thornton Heath’ is a short creative writing activity designed by local Spoken Word Artist and Croydon Poet Laureate Shaniqua Benjamin.   At the bottom of this page, you can see a gallery of examples from a workshop Shaniqua led online on 12th October 2020. Shaniqua has kindly created the workshop for anyone to have a go at creating their own poetry about Thornton Heath using the free, downloadable worksheet on this page – and we’d love to see your wishes!   Listen to your task set by Shaniqua:   “Hi everyone, I’m Shaniqua Benjamin, a Spoken Word Poet from Thornton Heath and I wanna hear all about your Thornton Heath wishes! So get yourself some paper and a pen and your phone because we’re gonna share those wishes through poetry.
  • So first, set the timer on your phone for two minutes and do a free write on what you think and feel about Thornton Heath.
(Now a ‘free write’ is whenever you write whatever comes into your head, it doesn’t have to make any sense, just get it onto the paper, don’t take the pen off your page unless you’re leaving a space between the words).
  • So do that two minute free write about what you think and feel about Thornton Heath, and then you’re going to set your timer on your phone for one minute and then do another free write on either the outdoor or indoor spaces you wish were in Thornton Heath growing up. This can be in the form of a list, just try to get as many things down as possible. Then, set the timer on your phone for one minute again, and do a free write on what you wish was in Thornton Heath now. So this could be anything from indoor spaces to outdoor spaces to events. Just let your mind run free this time, ‘cos you can always tone it down. It can be in the form of a list again, just get as many things down as possible.
  • Then I want you to read through your free writes and underline or highlight whatever stands out to you. And then for the final time, I want you to set your timer for two minutes, and whatever you have highlighted or underlined that stands out to you, I want you to write what it is that they look like. The colours, the shapes, the images, all those kind of things, be as vivid as possible because you’re going to create some lovely metaphors from that imagery.
  • So us the imagery [described] and your wishes to write a short poem about what you’d wish to see in Thornton Heath. And then you can send that to us in written form, a voice recording, or just 2-3 lines of your poem.
Happy writing everyone!”.   Image of Creative Writing Worksheet by Shaniqua Benjamin

Download the template

worksheet of creative writing tasks designed by local Spoken Word Artist and Poet Laureate Shaniqua Benjamin

to make your own Thornton Heath wishes into poetry.

  After you’ve created your poem – show us! You can email it to and we will upload your work to add to this gallery.   Or you can post it on Instagram and tag us in @turfprojects or on Twitter @Turf_Projects with the hashtag #IwishCR7 We can’t wait to see what you think about Thornton Heath!

Why are we asking for your thoughts about Thornton Heath?

We are working with Croydon Council and architects CarverHaggard to help them understand how you want to see Thornton Heath change. We want to hear from as many local people of all ages as possible. You can find out more by visiting  

Your Thornton Heath Wishes as poems created using Shaniqua’s techniques:


Poem by Ashleigh         Poem by Anon          Poem by Shaniqua Benjamin