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This website will be given a make-over during 2016. The changes will reflect how our activities, and also the conditions around us, have developed.

The charity Hyphen-21 seeks through this website to identify, assert, validate and support the redeeming skills of neighbourly relationship, since such skills - the skills of love - are the essential core of a civilised society. But this Autumn, the connecting hyphen between I and Thou, after which the charity is named, this bridge between people, seems threatened as never before. So why is this website so inert nowadays, so out of date ? Do we simply despair and wait for the barbarians to arrive ? Have they arrived already and torn out our tongues ?

About us

Welcome to Hyphen-21.

We promote ideas and initiatives which advance or sustain community. We encourage the skills required for a community under pressure to survive and flourish. We seek to affirm and strengthen the skills required to connect people, I to Other, especially where "Other" seems especially distant or different or distressed.

Go to "Hyphen Projects" for the list of initiatives and campaigns we support and pursue. They include

*     "Poems for…" - a project which displays small poem-posters in public places and celebrates diversity. It has been running for more than ten years, funded mostly by the Arts Council and the NHS. Other funders have included the King's Fund, the John Lewis Partnership, the Baring Foundation and the Foreign Office. Since 2008, when the project launched its own website,  people from all over the world have been downloading its bilingual poem collections. Most are school-teachers.

*      A code of professional conduct for psychiatric ward rounds and similar meetings. The code's purpose is to the make such meetings less intimidating, less de-personalising,  than often they are. It has been commended by the Department of Health.

*      A strategy paper on how to sustain staff morale in care organisations. This paper seems especially relevant in times of pressure, when care and the organisations which provide it, are in question.

Go to "Background" (top left on this home page) to learn more about the principles we work from, the strategies we work by, and some of the thinking we have engaged in.

Hyphen-21 is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee.

The Hyphen between I and Thou


I have found a raft
to ride the tumult

the breaking of towers
the malign intrusions

of Sell
and Spin -

this hyphen

between the loose edges

and clashing waves,
this foothold

this dancing ledge
of hope and connection.

Rogan Wolf, © September 2000

"We are members one of another and without a set of relationships,
a community and a society, no individual would survive or flourish."


David Jenkins, ex-Bishop of Durham.

"Humankind cannot bear very much reality"


from "Four Quartets" by TS Eliot ("Burnt Norton")

"Just as the melody is not made up of notes nor the verse of words nor the statue of lines, but they must be tugged and dragged till their unity has been scattered into these many pieces, so with the man to whom I say Thou…

as I become I, I say Thou…

All real living is meeting."


Taken from "I and Thou" by Martin Buber.


"[Social Care] workers are a group of people who are being called upon to live dangerously at many of the pressure points in our present confused, confusing and increasingly divided society. As such you are the objects of, and therefore presumably in your own persons and reflections the subjects of, a great deal of confusion, anxiety and uncertainty. Your position is highly ambivalent and ambiguous and therefore both actually painful now and potentially promising with regard to the future of our society and, indeed, of human beings on this earth."


David Jenkins, ex-Bishop of Durham, speaking in 1988

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Poems for...
“Poems for the Waiting Room is an inspired scheme …… I've been delighted to be a part of it.”
Andrew Motion,
Poet Laureate

Poems for... is here

Code of Conduct for ward rounds
“The Department of Health welcome[s] such initiatives as the Code of Professional Conduct for Ward Rounds and Similar Meetings. [This] is an example of good practice it would want to support…”
Julie Nichols,

The Ward Round Code is here

User involvement in staff recruitment
Hyphen-21's model of a separate user panel “is an example of notable practice..worthy of sharing..across the NHS.”
Report by the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI)
August 2002

Consultation with the Users is here

Comments on Hyphen-21
“We feel that Hyphen-21 is doing some very important work designed to connect people to people, and people to community - their work on a code of good practice for ward rounds and their "Poems for the Waiting Room" project are particularly potent examples.”
Consumer Consultancy (Brighton)

“ I initially accessed your site as I was interested in your Poems for the Waiting Room project. However I am now really impressed by the other projects you have set up. My colleagues have also looked at your website and enjoyed the content too… We provide support and advice to drug users and their families. This involves needle exchange, counselling, access to funding for rehab, etc..I would like to express my support for your charity.”
Sheena MacKenzie,
Turning Point Worcester Druglink

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