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Sheffield’s Covid Memorial Activity launches: Tell your story

As ‘Stories From The Pandemic’ launches, you can contribute your story as a lasting testimony of the pandemic’s impact on Sheffield.

Stories From The Pandemic

The last two years will be discussed for long to come, and your experience of the pandemic should play a part in how it is remembered. ‘Stories From The Pandemic’ is inviting local people to share their stories and experiences via a new website and on postcards available across the city.

Run by Opus Independents, which also runs Now Then, in partnership with Sheffield City Council and Sheffield City Archives, the perspective and experience of individuals will inform plans for community memorials and a memorial statue in Sheffield city centre.

Perhaps you had to home school your children for the first time. Perhaps you had only just qualified as a nurse and found yourself thrown in at the deep end. Perhaps you took shopping to your clinically vulnerable neighbour every week. Or perhaps you were that neighbour. Or you had to pivot your business model, you started a new job without meeting a single colleague in person, or you developed Long Covid. Perhaps you revelled in newfound community spirit and thrived. Perhaps you lost the love of your life to the disease.

Sheffield resident Roshan Lal, who helped establish the project, said “We are all living through a world-historical event. No community has been untouched by the pandemic. In a very real sense, we are finding our way through this together. But what the experience of living through such a global, universal event actually feels like is particular to every individual living it. We all stand witness to this event in our own discrete, specific ways.”

It is important that the impact of the pandemic on both individuals and communities is recorded for future generations. The good and the bad, the beautiful and the painful; it all counts. The project wants to hear it all.

Sheffield residents are being asked to submit their stories and experiences via a new website, which went live this week: www.sheffieldstoriesfromthepandemic.com

Postcards will also be distributed across the city in various libraries, museums and venues, for people to leave physical contributions. They can be filled in and submitted at these participating venues, or posted for submission. These postcards will also be made available to order for group sessions and discussions within communities and organisations across the city. A list of participating venues will be published on the website.

Rosh Heeley Sheffield
Stories From The Pandemic’

Individual experiences will be presented back to the city as part of a process of collective reflection. Exhibits will be made available on the Stories From The Pandemic website in due course, and plans are being developed to showcase entries in exhibitions across the city.

Tim Feben from Sheffield-based social enterprise Opus Independents, who are leading on the city-wide project, said the project is looking for as many varied contributions as possible, so that the city’s memorial activity is “rooted in the experiences of its people and collectively owned.”

“We hope this will form a lasting testimony to the impact this pandemic has had on us all, and act as an important space for us to celebrate small acts of kindness, support positive change and remember those we have lost. Everybody has a story from the pandemic - we'd love to hear yours."

Linked with the memorial activity is the work of the Compassionate Sheffield, which is connecting and supporting people, communities and organisations to harness the power of compassion. It was often the small acts of kindness that made the biggest difference to people during the pandemic.

Councillor Terry Fox, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “What I would love to see now is many more people coming forward to be a part of the activity as more details emerge on how they can get involved. We’ve all been affected by this terrible pandemic so being a part of how it should be remembered in the future needs to feel right for individuals and communities.”

Learn more

To contribute to Stories From The Pandemic, visit www.sheffieldstoriesfromthepandemic.com.

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