Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000

Description

Writing for Life is a creative writing project that aims to help new writers write about and reflect on their own life journey and to embrace their own experiences. The writing group will provide a safe, supportive and therapeutic forum for people who want to write difficult and unique stories and who will benefit from professional creative writing support. WoW are based in Toxteth Library where many of our projects such as Write to Work are held. The library is also the venue for many of our festival events. Toxteth Library is of cultural significance and based in the diverse community of Liverpool 8. WoW is grounded with local communities and working towards the developing the library as a space where people, alongside visiting to borrow books, can access support for developing their own writing and other creative support.

WoW have been approached by writers who have wanted to publish their life story as fiction and non fiction and as a result, have successfully published memoirs including The Road to My Door and Liverpool Memories. From this experience, WoW have identified the need for people to write their own life stories in a professional and creative manner. Many writers that WoW have worked with are older and by publishing their stories, this has given them an opportunity to gain new skills, increase confidence and self-esteem.

Writing for Life is creative writing with group support. This method has been shown to improve overall emotional wellbeing of participants. Over six months writers will be encouraged to share their stories and write about significant life experiences, whilst working alongside a professional writer. Sessions will be held fortnightly and the group will be encouraged to write independently between these sessions. Throughout the project, participants will look to develop their creative writing skills in a supportive environment at Toxteth Library with the project culminating in a celebration event in which writers will share their work with each other and to the public.

WoW has had the privilege of working with a range of communities through several writing projects, particularly What’s Your Story? (WYS?) which has worked alongside stroke survivors, people suffering mental health issues, refugees, young carers and kinship carers. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive: “I was absolutely delighted to be a part of it. It was my opportunity to tell my stories to the others.” – Participant from WYS? City Hearts.
WoW understands the cathartic nature of writing, when writing about personal trauma or barriers. Mental Health and Me is a writing competition in which applicants were encouraged to write about their experiences with mental health. The finalists performed on Mental Health Day (10th October) and entries covered a wide scope of issues surrounding mental health including writing on personal experiences with depression, schizophrenia as well as some personal accounts of what it is like to work as a carer. The readings provided a platform to challenge preconceived ideas about mental health and by sharing stories writers were able to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health.

Through the development of these projects, WoW has identified a clear need for projects such as Writing for Life to support writers by documenting and writing their memoirs or create fiction surrounding past personal events. WoW have found that often writing these stories can stir up issues surrounding emotional wellbeing including barriers such as mental health or unemployment. Writing for Life will provide practical support whilst improving emotional wellbeing and reducing isolation.

Writing on the Wall

Location: Liverpool

WoW is proud of this project because it gives people ownership of their own, original story, and gives participants a voice and a chance to reflect on their past experiences in a safe, supportive atmosphere.
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