Our project was run in partnership with Read On Nottingham, ChalleNGe, and Nottm Castle. Together we called on young people in Nottingham (14-25) to:

  • Reflect on 2020 and write a letter to help process ‘the moment through which we are living’
  • Submit the letter for showcase and publication in a new anthology

In turn, we committed to:

  • Publishing every letter on our website
  • Sharing inspiration from local writers and poets
  • Providing free resources in the form of a digital activity pack
  • Supporting young people through online creative writing workshops
  • Launch a new anthology of letters in April 2021

Letters of Solidarity ran in the summer and autumn of 2020. We encouraged young people (aged 14-25) across Nottingham to write letters sharing their experiences of isolation due to the covid-19 pandemic and at a time when the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement featured regularly in the news.

Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, Nottingham Castle Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, Nottingham Trent University, the Thomas Farr Charity and ChalleNGe, we were able to create Letters of Solidarity, a letter writing project that enabled young people to put their thoughts and feelings around the pandemic into words.

We collected over forty of our favourite letters into an anthology, containing letters from young people, talking about their experiences of the first Coronavirus lockdown and the events that took place within it. It’s a beautiful, heart-breaking and hopeful collection, and we’re incredibly proud of everyone who contributed to this fantastic project.

Our facilitators on the project were novelist and lecturer Eve Makis, poet and educator Panja Banjoko and poet and educator Ioney Smallhorne. Eve Makis also edited the final anthology of work together to be published. To support the young people, they curated several online resources as part of an activity pack. This included: a welcome letter outlining the project, writing prompts, letter templates, stationery (pens, templates, notepad) and a copy of Speak Up, our anthology of Nottingham’s Young Voices. The team also produced online resources for the project including writing workshops and social media takeovers. 

  • Our activity packs were distributed to over 300 households
  • 38 young people registered to attend workshops
  • In total we had 49 letters submitted for the project

”We received letters of appreciation to mums, friends and key workers. One writer escaped lockdown through literature, another through her obsession with online maths. An NHS 

father wrote to his unborn son. Many young people expressed concerns about racism, the environment and the prospect of joblessness. We received letters about depression, loneliness and a funeral in lockdown, the healing power of FaceTime with friends.”
Eve Makis