The lockdown experiences of residents of a south Warwickshire village have been turned into poetry – and can now be read by everyone after a special book launch.
The villagers of Harbury unveiled Harbury in Lockdown, featuring many different poems about the ups and downs of lockdown, at a launch event at Biblio’s Café in Harbury Village Library.
Copies of the book will be given out to organisations in the village for people to read, and to each person who has contributed their lockdown story.
Additionally, the original interviews and text will be held in the Harbury’s Heritage Centre as a historical record of both the project and people’s experiences during the pandemic.
Finally, an online version of the book is also available for people to read at their leisure.
Harbury parish councillor Julie Balch, who received the first copy of the book at the launch event, said: “It’s been wonderful to read about everyone’s experiences during this strange time.
“We are delighted that the book with interviews and poetry by members of the village will now be kept for posterity for future generations to enjoy and learn about how the village coped with the coronavirus pandemic.”
The poetry in the book portrays a wide range of lockdown-related subjects, such as the strengthening of community spirit and the support people gave to each other, through to more simple subjects like the difficulty in buying flour and toilet paper.
And Sharon Hancock, chair of Harbury Village Library, said: “The library is a focal point in the village for so many creative activities, so we are thrilled to have been chosen to take part in this project.”
The book is part of a wider project by arts organization ‘Live & Local’, who have helped people get creative during the pandemic, and has been funded through Stratford District Council and Warwickshire County Council.
The project pairs ten local communities with professional artists from a range of backgrounds to undertake collaborative and creative projects.
The Harbury project, which was coordinated by professional writer and poet Holly Daffurn, culminated in the production of the bespoke book of prose and poetry written by members of the community.
Dionne Sambrook from Live & Local added: “There are so many wonderfully creative people and fascinating stories within our communities across Warwickshire, so it’s great to be able to continue bringing an engaging arts experience to people during these challenging times and to share the stories of our varied communities.
“The enthusiasm of the ten communities and the creativity of the artists has presented really exciting creative possibilities throughout this project.”
The online version of Harbury in Lockdown can be read by visiting online.pubhtml5.com/frwd/ybwl/
Businesses in the district are being supported by Stratford District Council to promote the safe reopening of the High Streets in response to Covid-19 through the Government’s Reopening High Streets Safely Fund which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The project has received £116,036 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding
Caption – From left: Cllr Julie Balch, Sharon Hancock, volunteer library lead Richard Fowler, Holly Daffurn