“Attending the workshops has given me a much-needed focus and distraction from all the negativity that is around… Being involved in Creative Voices, is helping to cheer my spirit, gladden my heart, expand my mind and allowing the creative part of me to flow. Thank you so much for this wonderful new adventure.” Maxine Thomas, participant
Creative Voices is a partnership project between HLF and Words in Mind, funded by Kirklees Council’s ‘Do Something Now’ Covid support funding. It was designed to provide a creative outlet and positive experience for participants during Covid restrictions and lockdowns.Four groups of up to 12 people each took part in a series of 10 online creative writing workshops (40 workshops in total), which ran from 6 October to 10 December 2020. These were led by creative writing tutors with a focus on wellbeing and encouraging participants to produce new poems or prose.
Musician Rachel Ireland hosted further workshops in January 2021, to shape some of the work created into four songs. These will be performed – alongside participants’ spoken word contributions – by local choirs at a Festival event to be held in the late spring/early summer, once it is safe to hold indoor events again.
The project has provided a much-needed focus and escape from the challenges of recent times, bringing together people of all experiences and backgrounds in a warm and friendly environment.
Participants reported learning new skills, from writing poetry, storytelling and songwriting to increasing confidence and finding new ways to access creativity. The workshops were described as “a lifeline”, “a joyous distraction” and “a wonderful way to connect with people”.
It has been brilliant to have the chance to set an hour aside to write creatively. I haven’t written since school and have found it hugely positive. The tutors and fellow participants have all been very encouraging. I am trying to write more day to day. Hannele
The workshop developed my skills in creative writing. It has strengthened my confidence and my drive to write. My potential and my passion for graphic design have been unlocked. I feel a lot better and I’m grateful. I met great people, and I enjoyed every lesson. Thank you so much for the creative voices. I look forward to attending the festival of literature. Laurence Bassingha
The workshops have been an opportunity to meet some new people and get going with writing again. They have helped break the isolation of Covid and a sense of a small community developed over the weeks. I hope that the performance will be able to take place as it will be really positive to meet people have to face after all this time together on screen. Fiona Nuttall
Creative Voices was a new venture for me into writing poetry. Listening to different people with their stories in a welcoming environment was refreshing. I have surprised myself that I have produced some pieces. I would recommend it to anyone who is trying to find a way through these times of isolation – it is a joyous distraction. Anon
The Workshops have definitely built my confidence in promoting my creativity and desire to pursue my new found passion to write poetic lyrics. Anon
The workshops were so gently focussed on wellbeing that at times I hardly noticed it, until I realised I felt just a little bit better after each one. At no time did I feel pressured to bare all. It was lovely to get to know the other participants, over time. I learned a lot about writing poetry, and a bit about song writing, and I grew in confidence thanks to the supportive group. Bonnie
The weekly workshops have been a wonderful way to connect with people – which I’ve been particularly grateful for while other groups/activities have not been running during the pandemic. The workshops have also inspired me to try different forms of writing and create poetry for the first time. Anon
During this time of isolation the workshop sessions have been a lifeline for me as none of my family lives near. The members are so keen and interesting and we all seem to enjoy each other’s efforts. It’s been much better than I anticipated, just because of the varied participants and the quality of their work. Anon
From experience I knew that the Huddersfield Lit Festival was a marvellous mixture with something for everyone. Despite the lockdown isolation this course has reinforced that belief. Jim Saville
I really enjoyed my creative writing classes. We had some great teachers, especially Carrie who made the sessions really enjoyable and there was a nice group of people. The classes have inspired me to write more too. Faye
In these times of isolation, it was lovely to look forward to our weekly meet ups where we can all be creative in a warm and welcoming space. I think more of these types of opportunities should be available and hope they will. Anon
These virtual classes have been wonderful in this difficult year. It was great to meet new people, be inspired to write and have regular social interaction. They have definitely motivated me to write more and have helped my mental health. Many thanks. Ruth Mawdsley
A course that offers more layers than a bag of onions!! You learn about your own creativity. You are able to enjoy collaborating with inspiring writers. You delve into your own mindset & spirit. It is an experience to expand the soul. A heartfelt thank you to the exceptional course creators, leaders and fellow creative participants. Jo-an