A new book containing stories direct from the people of Greater Manchester aged 6 to 82, documenting the raw feelings and emotions of lockdown Book available from Thursday 17 December via Amazon. The Language of Lockdown is a book commissioned by The Old Court Arts Centre containing stories, drawings, sketches, paintings, photographs, poetry and creative writing based on the raw emotions, thoughts, feelings and experiences from the people of Wigan, Leigh, Greater Manchester and beyond during the Covid-19 lockdown period. Jonny Davenport, Artistic Director of The Old Courts said: “we wanted something that would live on beyond these unprecedented times, something to look back on as a reminder of both how difficult things were in that moment and how, as a community, people managed to overcome and perhaps learn from our experiences. At a time when so many felt helpless, the book represents the emotions and feelings being lived by a collective throughout the world no matter where you come from or live. We want to provide hope to others demonstrating they were not alone in how we have been feeling, despite being in such an isolating period.” The Old Courts had an open call and hosted creative writing workshops for adults and children who wanted to share their work and voice with the rest of the world and to help stay connected. The book contains over 150 pieces of work from the people of Wigan, Greater Manchester and one participant joining in all the way from Nerja. A total of 109 People who took part in documenting these strange covid times, with the youngest contributor aged 6 and the oldest aged 82. The work captured the good, the bad, the ugly, the boredom, the feelings of children missing school, the desperate need for a haircut and a hug, the use of words such as lockdown, covid, isolation and PPE, missed birthdays and special occasions, celebrations via zoom and Facetime instead, the mental health struggles, experiencing loss and grief, unity but in a safe social distant manner, hope, and how the very young and the old were feeling.

The book includes the following: Amelie Leggott, age 6,Wigan A story about a virus This is the story about a virus that started, And all the people had to stay parted, The world had a really big fight, To make everything right, We went on walks, And had lots of talks, Sometimes we got sad, Which made us feel a bit mad, But other times we felt happy, Because we thought about seeing all our grandparents, Nanna and Pappy. Dominic Smith, age 8, Wigan Isolation Poem Running around to keep fit All playing a part to help Isolating to save others NHS working hard to save lives Being away from family One day more home schooling We came back together Olly Sibbit, age 9, Wigan Wigan lockdown Wigan lockdown I am very bored due to the current situation. I am missing my friends from school and looking forward to seeing them again. Miss hugging my baby cousin and building with my grandad. Brian Ratcliffe, age 71, Wigan Lockdown Blues Everday's Sunday running on a loop, Feel like a chicken locked up in a coop. Same old same old is the name of the game, Familiar routine's becoming quite tame. Not much to smile about, brings on a frown, Lockdown experience's dragging me down. Paula Clarkson, age 49, Wigan STUPID EARTH PEOPLE (POEM) The people they gathered in masses and masses In pubs and in clubs they were filling their glasses Whilst death lay in wait, so silent unseen A name on his lips whispered Covid-19 And millions of people we sit, and we wait For death to come calling And sealing our fate And death keeps on creeping and wringing his hands The stupid earth people all part of his plans. You just wouldn't listen, you just didn't care You must keep your distance stay indoors, beware And millions of people we sit, and we wait For death to come calling And sealing our fate But stupid earth people thought they knew the best The Government warnings they're only in jest. And death is still waiting, his scythe held up high You've used all your chances, it's too late to cry. And millions of people still sit and still wait For death WILL come calling And sealing our fate. The Old Courts hopes the work collated in the Language of Lockdown helps as a way of therapy for those who contributed and for others who felt the same way, and for all to reflect on the heartfelt content in the future when life does get back to normal and fast-paced again. They hope people can look back, reflect and learn for future generations. The Old Courts would like to thank Greater Manchester Combined Authority for the funding support to make this idea become a reality. The book is available to buy in paperback via Amazon priced at £15.99.

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The Old Courts is a trading name of Arts at the Mill CIC a registered Community Interest Company registered in England

under Number 07411657 at Gerrard Winstanley House, Crawford Street, Wigan, WN1 1NA