In March 2023, we welcomed people from the communities in Darnall and Tinsley to two Covid community memorial events, which gave us all an opportunity to share experiences from the pandemic. Representatives and resources from Sheffield Mind, Compassionate Sheffield and IAPT were there, sharing support and guidance for anyone who wanted help with managing their feelings.
We provided craft resources for people to create a memory book and gave everyone a candle and holder, which we lit together as a joint act of remembrance of lost loved ones, led by local faith leaders. We also provided food for everyone to eat together. A member of our team used her Out of the Box storytelling training to help some attendees to talk about their experiences. And we filmed interviews with some people sharing their Covid memories, as well as encouraging people to share their memories verbally and on paper in communal memory books.
Both events were very positively received by the communities and were well attended. People sat around tables and got to know one another throughout the events, as well as catching up with old friends/connections. The craft activities really helped people to talk about what they’d been through and share their memories with each other and in our videos/memory books.
We had faith leaders, Sheffield Mind and Compassionate Sheffield at the events, recognising that the topic might trigger painful memories for some people, so we had support on hand for people who needed it. This was really helpful to a number of people, and when Sheffield Mind were with us in Darnall, this led to 3 referrals to their bereavement support services, for people who were struggling with their grief.
We had a lot of positive feedback at both sessions about how needed people felt these events had been: “We felt forgotten, and now you have made our hearts so happy”, “really enjoyed meeting new people”, “today is very helpful – it got me out of the house to meet others – and that’s helpful!” and “today has been really good, enabling people to get together again”.
Watch the videos from both events here: