We launched Women in Lockdown: stories by and about women during Covid-19 at Eastbourne’s Town Hall at a packed event and to great applause. This anthology of stories has even made its way onto the BBC News.
Women in Lockdown book covers over 100 lockdown stories on the same evening as we collected the Queen’s Award and many, many contributors to the book were at the Town Hall. The book would make a great Christmas present and copies can be purchased from Wayfinderwoman’s website.
During covid many of our volunteers, and those we supported, were shielding, women were becoming increasingly anxious, disconnected with their families, with their friends, with their communities. I wanted to find a way to help them reconnect, to make them feel that they were supported, valued.
I knew from the women of Eastbourne project that ordinary women’s voices had been forgotten. That it was nigh on impossible to discover their lives. And so I asked for women to tell us their experiences of covid so their voices could be heard, so they could reconnect to their communities.
We expected 20 or 30 and received over 100. 100 stories in many forms, diary entries, essays, poems, a play, minutes of a family meeting and in visual form – paintings, drawings, tapestries, photographs. We originally were only going to post these on a Facebook page but the stories were so compelling, so beautiful that they deserved to be in printed form. And the book was born.
Not all of the stories received are in the book. Some women were content just to connect with us. Telling us their story was enough and they declined to have them published further. We treasure those stories too.
And getting the book published has been a team effort. The project helped us reconnect with each other too. Thanks go to so many not least of which are Nicola Allen and Tracey Xerxes who were a driving force in raising the money to do so and the girls of Moira House who gave us a legacy donation. A special thank you to Patricia Cairns, OBE who advised us on structure and Josie Tipler who, with love, crafted the design of the book.