Sharing stories and creating history

24 July 2020

Creative Arts Project ‘A Story Shared’ aims to capture life in lockdown through the eyes of Cheshire West’s older residents.

The COVID-19 pandemic will go down not just in local and UK history, but in world history too. Future generations will want to know what life was like for ordinary people in these extraordinary times and how we coped with living through the pandemic.

Cheshire Archives is working with partners to record this unique period in time through the eyes of older residents. This is part of a wider project to use archives to connect people across Cheshire, supported by National Lottery Heritage Funding.

‘A Story Shared’ is a creative project inspired by Haylo Theatre, developed with Cheshire Archives and Age-friendly Cheshire West. The project captures this extraordinary moment in time through the experiences and stories of older community members, stories that may otherwise go unheard. Stories tell of how life in lockdown changed our lives. Staying at home to keep each other safe and adapting to living life differently.
The experiences of older residents are wide and varied, everyone from 50 to over 100 has a story to share of how life in lockdown changed their lives. Many played their part as key workers, and some returned to work in the NHS to help fight the virus. Others played a vital role as volunteers, helping friends, neighbours and the community or by staying at home to keep safe and well. 

For some people lockdown enabled them to be more socially connected than before, to learn new things and spend time doing things they enjoy. For others lockdown has been a time of sadness, loss and isolation.

Everyone’s experience of lockdown is different, and everyone’s experience is important.

Sharing your story will help others understand what life was really like for people living through the pandemic.

By recording and sharing stories we can transform them into a memory shared by the community and preserved in our local history, creating a legacy for future generations for years to come.

We would like to invite you to take part and become part of that history. The more contributions, the richer the history. You can record your experiences by filling out as much or as little of our journal page as you wish. This can be downloaded from the Age-friendly Cheshire West website, or you can request a paper copy by email or phone. Your contributions will become part of the archive recording the pandemic and Haylo Theatre will be creating a photobook with a selection of the responses.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has been an extremely difficult time for so many of our residents across the borough. It has been inspiring to hear how people have been helping and supporting each other and their communities during lockdown and it is so important that this moment in time is recorded and preserved for future generations to look back on.

“A Story Shared is such a great opportunity for older residents across west Cheshire to share their experiences of this unique time and become a vital part of history. I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the project.”

Hayley Lamb and Louise Harris are both Directors of Haylo Theatre, Hayley said: “We are delighted to be working with Cheshire Archives and Age-friendly Cheshire West on the A Story Shared project. 

“We are collecting and sharing peoples’ stories and experiences of isolation during lockdown as we want to shine a light on these issues, create a community of shared experiences and show that together we are not alone.

Louise adds: “A Story Shared exists to inspire community and understanding through the sharing of the lives of real people.”

How to get involved

The journal document is available to download on the Age-friendly Cheshire West website: If you would like a paper copy of the document: For more information about the project, please contact Cheshire Archives: recordoffice@sharedservices.gov.uk

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