Performance poet Evrah Rose, from Wrexham, is proud of her hometown, and through the creative arts, hopes to change its negative image or inspire youngsters who believe there’s nothing for them. Jamie Bowman reports...

WREXHAM is not a great place to live if you’re under 26, recent BBC analysis suggests.

The corporation ranked 378 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland from highest to lowest, using variables including access to mental health care, average rent prices and levels of unemployment.

The data, which was selected by BBC News, also looks at the number of bars, pubs, clubs and music events in each local authority, as well as access to sports facilities and 4G. The project also carried out a poll of more than 1,000 young people to help ensure the measures used are important to them.

Wrexham reached an average score of three out of 10 across the categories, with a mark of one for both ‘going out’ and ‘sports facilities’. Only a score of nine for its rent prices saved the town from being ranked even lower.

The Leader:

Screenshots from Evrah Rose's 'I Am From Wrexham' poem published on her YouTube channel

For one member of Wrexham’s arts scene, the constant negativity surrounding the town’s public image has proved the inspiration for her to put pen to paper and compose a poem, which she hopes might persuade people to change their opinions about her hometown.

“I’ve just got really fed up about all the comments from people about how there’s never anything going on in Wrexham or there’s not much to do and it’s a dead end place,” says performance poet Evrah Rose, whose latest work I Am From Wrexham has been shared thousands of times on social media and was featured on BBC Wales Today.

“I had a feeling a few people I knew would appreciate it because I’m not the only one who has that opinion and I have friends who feel very passionately about everything that goes on here but I didn’t envisage it getting thousands of hits and flying around on social media or even being on the news.”

The poem, in which Evrah urges those living “in the town of the mighty Reds” to appreciate what they have and work together, while listing Wrexham’s many positives, is something of a departure for the 30-year-old performer, who in the past has used a mix of her own experiences and perspectives of others, to confront issues such as rape, mental health, addiction and domestic violence.

“You’ve got so many talented people and so many things going on in Wrexham,” she says. “In Ty Pawb you have a hub which is just going to grow and grow.

“It’s all going on - it’s just about showing people Wrexham has its own worth. I believe in this town.”

A former carer, Evrah has been commissioned by the BBC to write and create spoken word films and has had her work publicised by BBC 2, 3, 4 and BBC Wales, as well as headlining various spoken word events around the North West.

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Wrexham poet Evrah Rose on stage and, right, during her 'I Am From Wrexham' video on YouTube

“A bit more positivity in the town and I think we could really create something quite special,” she says. “When it comes to the arts, sometimes unless you’re involved in something yourself you don’t appreciate its worth.

“When I was younger I was never in this scene, so I couldn’t comment but now I’m older and have got into spoken word I can see the value of Wrexham’s arts scene and I believe it can enrich a lot of people’s lives.

“Every group in society can benefit from the arts. They just need to find that niche and find something that works for them.

“For instance I’ve had people post on my page saying they’ve never liked poetry but then hearing mine has changed their mind.”

A regular volunteer helping the town’s homeless community, Evrah is resident artist for the charity Action for Arts and was recently commissioned by Home-Start York to write a piece of poetry for and feature in their latest ad campaign focussed on social isolation in young mothers.

“There are similar issues wherever you go in the UK and the reason I believe it is so prominent in Wrexham is because it is a small town and people are more likely to congregate in certain areas,” she says.

“I think rather than give the homeless a bad press, we should all stick together and support these individuals - nobody wants to grow up being addicted to substances or being homeless.

“At the end of the day we are all one pay cheque away from destitution - and it could happen to any of us.

“I was volunteering at the Care Hub one Friday morning and I spoke to a lot of people from the homeless community - many of them had been flying high with good jobs and good careers, homes and a car. They were successful and lost all of it.”

With ambitions to combine her love of both music and poetry, Evrah will publish her debut poetry collection later this year and continue to perform across the region.

She says: “I began writing around the age of eight, poetry enabled me to vocalise the serious issues I was facing and provided me with an outlet in my teens when I needed it the most. Now, I use my poetry to speak for those without a voice.

“I want to make a career of it. I started writing when I was a child and it really began with rap. As I got older I became more socially concious and began realising what I was doing was called spoken word.

“I was passionate about what I was doing and about 18 months ago I put some videos online and it has really gone from there. I haven’t looked back since and the reaction I have received has been so supportive. There is an amazing community in the town.”

As for those BBC statistics, Evrah believes young people need to get behind the town and seek out the opportunities there are for them in Wrexham’s flourishing arts scene.

“It would be nice for young people to hear my poetry and hear about the good that is going on in the town,” she adds. “Young people tend to get pointed at and singled out but I think our youth are talented, passionate people and should be appreciated for the good they bring to the town.

“I hope the poem will raise some awareness and at the end of the day I just want to get rid of this bad reputation we have - Wrexham is such a great town and I just don’t know where this image comes from.”

For a list of Evrah Rose’s forthcoming live dates and information about her poetry workshops, go to