You are here
Manchester Mothers’ Union lockdown poets make an impact in the community
The Manchester Mothers’ Union lockdown poetry initiative came about in May 2020 after several weeks in lockdown.
The beginnings of the project
It started as an idea of Diocesan President Christine Sharp. An appeal was sent out to branches in the diocese asking for members to send in their poetry about their own experiences of lockdown at that point. This was a way of much needed member outreach. It was a healthy and creative way of keeping branches talking and contributing and sharing individual experiences of lockdown.
At first, the organisers were unsure as to how many responses they would get. The idea was to make a booklet to sell if there was enough but the response was fantastic! It turns out there are a great many talented poets in the Manchester area. Going outside the membership, they asked people to tell their friends, family and churches to send poetry in too.
They received poems from all ages of grandchildren of members, non MU members but friends of members so it touched a wide range of people. The impact was really felt in the community.
The organising team ended submissions at the end of July and asked members to send photos they had taken during lockdown for the booklet. The videos came from an idea of Communications Officer, Kirsten Rutherford.
Kirsten had been working on online material with her church during lockdown and saw an opportunity to use the amazing response with the lockdown poetry from Manchester members to create videos which are released gradually.
The response has been truly wonderful, members are really enjoying them and the wonderful poetry contributions are being very much appreciated beyond the diocese. The whole initiative has engaged members and embraces the new times we all find ourselves in where outreach is online-based as branches are not meeting like they used to.
The endeavour represents a great starting point for Manchester diocese MU in embracing and using online mediums such as YouTube and Zoom. They already use Facebook in reaching out to members and engaging during these difficult times where people are fearful, isolated and lonely. The organisers are also going to be making a collection of the poems which will be released in October 2020 as a book. It will be available from their online shop.
These are difficult times which do not look likely to end this side of spring 2021. Finding new ways to come together is one of the most important issues facing Mothers’ Union as a movement. Rallying around the lockdown poets may be an inspiring and creative way of doing just that.