A Horley man with a passion for poetry has set up a website to inspire aspiring poets to be creative and to expand their imaginations by setting them weekly challenges.

Tom Hughes set up the non-profit website – www.hcpoetry.com – after fighting with writer's block as a guitar-playing songwriter through his youth.

Tom said: “It started with songwriting for me. I spent my youth writing lyrics and fighting with writer's block.”

He said: “Every day I was looking for inspiration and new subjects to write about, but it's always so easy to slip into a routine of writing about love or relationships, and bringing nothing new to the table.”

Twelve years on though, he said he hit on the idea of setting up the website – the “hc” standing for “high calibre” poetry.

Tom explained: “By setting a new subject for the poets to write about each week, they are forced out of their comfort zone and they start to write about topics that they'd never thought to write about before.”

He said: “Each week a new challenge is set and to date we have had over 300 poets interacting with the website.

“The challenges set on www.hcpoetry.com will always be free to enter and will always be aimed at encouraging creativity and imaginative new thinking among poets young and old.”

The challenges can be very obscure and testing – one set just four weeks into the website being to write through the “eyes of an insect.”

There is a weekly winner's section posted on the website and Tom praised the winner of that particular challenge, Daniel Sainty, and noted the sense of reward that had come out of the challenge: “Daniel Sainty's entry in particular really shone for me as a poem that would never have been created if it wasn't for this topic being set.

“Now Daniel can use this new viewpoint in other work.” Tom said: “Personally, I work for an insurance company and write poetry and music in my spare time.

“I have no profit stream from this website, and run it purely through elbow grease and the love of inspiring people, but of course, I would love to grow the community of poets, and look to help some of them to get published one day.”

He said: “One poet from the States recently said, 'I find your competitions encouraging and a stimulus to proving poets who may not otherwise find an outlet,' and, 'You are a great inspiration.'"

Tom added: “It's feedback like this that keeps me devoting my Sundays to www.hcpoetry.com”

For more information visit Tom's website: www.hcpoetry.com