Lockdown is hitting young people hard
In troubled times, without school and a social life, it’s easy for young people to feel down to feel anxious and alone. Nowhere is this effect more obvious than in our empty schools and colleges, our silent town centres.
Words are a powerful way for young people to stay connected and to show the world “we’re still here”. And a wealth of research demonstrates that expressive writing is good for physical and mental health.
A commitment to young people
Kendal Poetry Festival has always had a strong commitment to Kendal’s young people. And we know that poetry can provide valuable help young people facing the challenges of the current lock down. Young people feature strongly in our festival, and all young people can claim free tickets to any of the poetry readings, films, shows and discussions taking place over nine days of online poetry. But with the third lockdown upon us, we want to go even further to reach young people in Cumbria. And we need your help.
As part of the “The Guerilla Poetry’ project, poet and novelist Kate Hale is working with young people from across the Lakes to bring their poetry directly to the centre of Kendal. Working in collaboration with local businesses, writing groups, schools and Kendal Town Council, poems will be displayed in empty buildings and shop windows across the town.
What can you do to help?
- If you own or manage a premise in Kendal, could you offer a space to display work by Cumbrian young people – from a single poster, to a full window display?
- If you’re aged 11-25, we need you! If you live in Cumbria, if you’d like to submit any writing about your experiences in the last year, or if you want to have a go at the exercise below, we’d love to receive your work. Please send your words to firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you work with or care for young people in Cumbria, support them to add their voices to the project by using the exercise below, as part of a lesson or group activity.
Timeframe: we’d like to receive all work by 8th February, so that we can display work from 15th February. If you can support us with space to display poetry, we’d like to hear from you by 1st February. For further details, check www.kendalpoetryfestival.co.uk - or contact us at email@example.com
Writing Exercise: Surviving Covid
This writing exercise is quick, easy, and fun. You don’t need experience of writing poetry - just something to write on, and a few minutes to spare. The only thing that matters is your voice. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or “getting it right”!
You’re going to start by writing just one line about something you did to get through Covid. From washing your hands to watching TV to being with family …. It doesn’t have to be big or exciting.
If you’re writing as a part of a group, you could all read your lines out, or type them into Chat. If you write them as instructions – like the example below – you’ll find they make a brilliant piece of writing
How to Survive a Pandemic
Unionlearn, October 12th 2020
Plan your time. Dance daily,
take more bubble baths.
Live everyday as if it’s your last.
Speak to friends when you need their support.
Go for a run in the hills.
Take yourself away from it all,
draw more pictures.
Go for walks in the woods, in the park,
watch Netflix. Embrace the workouts.
Eat plenty of cheese.
Your turn now.
You’re going to write a short list.
Name something you did to get through Covid:
- when you were at home
- when you were at school/ college/ work
- with your friends
- outside, in your garden or neighbourhood
- in virtual reality/ online
If you write each of these answers as an instruction – you’ll have your own five lined poem!
Whether it’s one line, a group poem, or your own poem, to share your work and see it displayed in town, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org