At the beginning of this year, John Dermody an advisor to Collective Encounters’ board of trustees passed away. John’s contribution to meetings has been invaluable, and his humour and humility will be greatly missed by all of us here at Collective Encounters.

John’s journey with the company started in 2011, when he began participating with the Transitions project. John regularly attended creative development workshops with the Transitions group and was himself a keen writer, performer and poet. Over the last eleven years John has performed in numerous productions, supported events and acted as a passionate and articulate advocate for Collective Encounters the in voluntary sector, and in particular the homeless, mental health and recovery community across Merseyside and beyond.

John later became an advisor to the board of trustees, a role which he was proud to play. During his time as advisor John contributed invaluable insights into the wider voluntary sector, the political landscape and the experiences of fellow participants. John can also be credited with instigating Collective Encounters’ Participant Forum that still runs today.

Everyone at Collective Encounters both past and present will miss the joy and laughter John brought to the room with a booming voice and a strong Irish accent. I personally remember being surprised to hear from John that he had spent most of his childhood in south London. He told me that when his family emigrated to Ireland in his mid-teens he quickly mastered the accent of this new home as a survival technique!

2019 is Collective Encounters 15th anniversary year. An achievement I know John would have been proud to be part of. As a way of recognising the enormous contribution John made to Collective Encounters over the years our anthology of poetry and writings, The Collective Encounter will be dedicated to him.

Thank you John, our friend, advocate, participant, comrade.

You will be hugely missed.

Annette Burghes, Executive Director


“I Want To Go Home”

by John Dermody


Will these showers not disappear?

Socked now, cold now, hungry now.

“I want to go home”

Warm faces have decreased

I look at them in unison and they retreat,

Their shell so safe, so warm

“I want to go home”

The shops I pass look so warm inside,

But their wanted hands nowhere for me to hide

“I want to go home”

There goes a man without problems be,

Close yet so far, warm and safe

A belonging has he.

“I want to go home”

Just here, now my hands so cold and blue

Off with these shackles

A long day it’s true.

Into the cardboard with all my might.

Insular, isolated, I need to belong.

“I want to go home” Please