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Lockdown Blues website

It is hoped the website will encourage empathy about the impact of loneliness and creativity,

Share your experiences of loneliness and Covid-19 as part of a major new project to help people feel less alone

People can share their experiences of the isolating impact of the coronavirus pandemic as part of a major new project designed to collect stories of loneliness and community.

The Lockdown Blues is an online scrapbook where anyone can contribute their thoughts, feelings, or reflections on loneliness in any format – including poems, songs, paintings, stories, sketches, videos, letters or even a few brief notes.

It is hoped the website will encourage both empathy about the impact of loneliness and creativity, and reading, writing, and creating will help visitors to the website feel less alone. The Lockdown Blues will also act as a public record, so that people’s experiences of difficulty during this important time aren’t forgotten or overlooked in the future.

Anyone in the South West can easily submit their contributions and share their thoughts with others. Contributions can be anonymous and people can also contribute using the hashtag #lonelycovid. The website also provides details of charities, services and community groups in the South West for people to find support or meet new friends.

The website was developed by three researchers at the University of Exeter’s Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, Charlotte Jones, Olly Clabburn, and Fred Cooper, as well as their community partners, Devon Libraries, Exeter Phoenix, and Devon Communities Together, to celebrate Exeter’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature.

Dr Clabburn said: “We’ve created a community space where people can share their experiences, get creative, and read about how others are feeling. Loneliness is something that affects people very differently. The Lockdown Blues is a safe space for anyone in the South West to share what loneliness has meant to them during the global pandemic.”

Dr Cooper said: “The website isn’t just about experiences of loneliness, it’s also a place to celebrate friendships and community during lockdown. We understand it can be difficult to talk about loneliness, as it often feels like an individual failing. It isn’t, and we hope that this project will emphasise that, and help make it easier to discuss. If solidarity can be found in shared experience and expression we hope we’ve made a space for that to become possible.”

Dr Jones said: “We know that many people’s experiences of loneliness and isolation didn’t begin with Covid-19, so these reflections may go back further than the last six months. We’re also interested in hopes and anxieties for the future; many restrictions are in the process of being lifted and this will impact people’s well-being in very different ways.” //

Date: 12 August 2020

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