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STAFFORDSHIRE: Pandemic War Diary plans

STAFFORDSHIRE: Pandemic War Diary plans

Photo by Staffordshire LDR Kerry Ashdown.

A “war diary” is being created in Staffordshire to capture the memories of county councillors and staff and detail how the authority responded to Covid-19.

The project, which is just getting underway, follows on from a scheme inviting residents to share their experiences of lockdowns during 2020 and 2021.

Covid-19 grant money given to Staffordshire County Council is being used to fund the Pandemic War Diary project, Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Joint Archive Committee heard on Thursday (November 11).

Collections officer Chris Copp said: “The Pandemic War Diary is just starting off. We’re almost at the point where we can appoint or advertise for a project assistant to help us undertake a series of oral history interviews.

“It’s funded by the county council and it builds on a project we were running during lockdown, which was called Lockdown Memories, which recorded the wider Staffordshire community’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Pandemic War Diary has three aims; to capture the official record of the county council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to undertake an oral history project to capture the experience of county council members and officers of the pandemic, and then as a legacy item to produce a publicly-accessible book or brochure which will share the story of how the county council managed its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

An exhibition is being planned for March 2024, a report to the committee said.

It added: “It is deliberately later in date to enable some distance from the pandemic and avoid Covid fatigue which could occur as communities want to move on and recover.

“Through the Lockdown Memories project we are identifying items which could be donated to the archive and heritage service and we will appeal to the community for people to take part in the oral history project. To date we have received over 140 responses across the county.

“Also as part of Lockdown Memories, some respondents have taken part in workshops delivered by an artist and the Staffordshire poet laureate. Lockdown Memories has also delivered three schools’ workshops at Westlands, Cooper Perry and Perton.”

Words: Kerry Ashdown, Local Democracy Reporter

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