Covid diaries project launched to capture living history of pandemic across Leeds

People of all ages across Leeds are being invited to share their experiences of the coronavirus pandemic through an initiative launched by CEG in partnership with Leeds City Council.

Leeds City Council and CEG, which is behind both the major Kirkstall Forge and Temple developments in Leeds, aim to collect reflections and stories from as many people as possible in what is thought to be the only project of its type underway across the district.

Leeds Libraries, Leeds Museums and Galleries and Child Friendly Leeds, all part of Leeds City Council, are supporting the COVID Diaries project which is open to people of all ages and entry formats including written and video diary entries, blogs, social media posts, photos, artwork, poems and songs.

Public submissions will also be collected so Leeds Museums and Galleries can look at how they could be used to help support any future displays and exhibitions exploring people’s experiences of the pandemic.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“There’s no doubt this has been an incredibly challenging time for our city and its communities and we have all had to adapt to so many extraordinary changes to every aspect of our daily lives.

“But even in the face of such upheaval and uncertainty, we have seen some truly remarkable displays of compassion, creativity and civic pride from the people of Leeds. This imaginative project will give us an opportunity to document and share some of those uplifting and emotional stories and create a lasting record of this unique chapter in the city’s history.”

Head of sales and marketing at CEG, Aisling Ramshaw, said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented and as a business at the heart of the Leeds community we understand the impact it is having on people in a range of ways, from social distancing and personal wellbeing through to working from home habits, home schooling and, sadly, illness amongst our loved ones.

“We are also seeing people finding new and innovative ways of communicating and interacting, such as video calls for both work and play, which is both positive and powerful. It provided the impetus for the idea as documenting live history will be both therapeutic and show how separation and isolation has also been helped by togetherness as communities support one another.

“As a business that is the custodian of two nationally significant historical sites in Leeds, we really value history and believe this project can play an important role in understanding not only how society is living through the pandemic today, but being able to reflect on the impact it has had on people and wider society over the years to come and plan for the future.”

Councillor Fiona Venner, executive board member for children and families at Leeds City Council, added:

“In Leeds, our ambition is to be the best city for children and young people to grow up in – a child friendly city – and ensuring that they have voice and influence about the things that affect them is incredibly important to us.

“Across the city, the lives of children and young people have been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are presently living through the first national shutdown of schools in modern history. 

“Along with the rest of us, they are having to come to terms with a whole new normal way of living and finding different and innovative ways to cope.  Children and young people are also incredibly resilient, and we have already seen lots of fantastic examples of positive things they are doing to help them and their families get through the current challenging situation.

“This project offers a way to capture their experience of living through a pandemic and will provide a valuable snapshot of this point in the history of our great city for future generations. I hope that lots of children and young people will share their experiences and be a part of it.”

People who wish to participate can contribute on a one-off basis or regularly. All documents will be stored securely and some may be shared on social media.

The website where submissions can be made launches on Friday 1st May 2020. Further information on the project and how to submit entries can be found at and the project can be followed on Instagram via @covid__diaries and Twitter/ Facebook via @Covid__Diaries.

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