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Shape the future of Knowsley with your stories

by Cathy Sheel

People who live and work in Knowsley have been invited to share their experiences of life during the Covid-19 pandemic, and their hopes for the future, in a unique online story-telling project.

KnowsleyFutures, an innovative collaboration between Knowsley Council and charity think tank, The Young Foundation, invites residents, community groups and people with close links to Knowsley to share stories about how they have coped during the pandemic, and will showcase some of the amazing examples of community spirit demonstrated since the outbreak began. Those submitting stories will also be asked to share their hopes and aspirations for a post-Covid Knowsley of the future.

A dedicated KnowsleyFutures website – www.futurestories.life – has been created where people can upload their contributions in a range of formats – writing, video, blogs, images and more – with contributors being urged to be as creative as possible.  As part of the project, a community storyteller will be visiting schools, care homes, community venues to encourage people who may not feel confident going online to share their stories. A number of stories are already featured on the website to encourage others to get involved.

The project has been funded by a £50,000 National Lottery grant and made possible thanks to National Lottery players.

Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods Cllr Shelley Powell said: “We are all seeing the creativity and compassion that Knowsley’s communities are showing as we tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. This exciting project will give us an opportunity to showcase their stories and harness this rejuvenation of community spirit to inform our recovery plans as we emerge from the pandemic.

“This project will use storytelling about the past and future to encourage new ideas and provide a valuable insight into people’s future aspirations for our borough. We encourage everyone to get involved.”

Helen Goulden, CEO at The Young Foundation, says: “It’s through telling and sharing stories about our experiences of Covid-19 that we can begin to make sense of what we have gone through. And it’s through telling stories about what our future might be, that we can create a shared story for the change we want to see – and need to make. KnowsleyFutures uses story-telling on a mass, collaborative scale to imagine how a better future can emerge from a complex crisis. We’ve had some amazing contributions already and can’t wait to see more!”

Cassie Robinson, Senior Head of UK Funding at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges to communities across the UK and The National Lottery Community Fund has focused on getting much-needed emergency support out to communities and the sector. But it has also demonstrated the very best of civil society, which has met this huge challenge with creativity, commitment and a desire for change. We are now seeing new ways of doing things that we might not have thought of before.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, these new grants will support communities to consider how they can face the immediate impact of COVID-19 but also look to the future. The activity conducted by these community groups and organisations will generate learning and insights, and create space and capacity in communities so that they are able to anticipate, imagine and shape the future.”

To get involved in KnowsleyFutures visit: www.futurestories.life  You can also post your stories to Knowsley Futures, c/o Innovate Volunteering, Bryer Road Community Centre, Bryer Road, Prescot, L35 5DW.