Lyndsey Marchant, regional learning and development organiser in the North West, had received several inquiries from members about creative writing courses. So she approached Writing on the Wall, a Liverpool-based organisation with a particular focus on outreach and diversity. She explains,
Working with Writing On The Wall was a natural fit: WOW is a well known organisation in Liverpool that has the same values that UNISON does, promoting equality and promoting diversity. WOW’s literature festivals bring international voices to Liverpool and they have had lots of success with their creative writing courses with other organisations: working with them was a great opportunity to bring a vibrant and exciting course to our members!
UNISON members worked with authors and poets over a course of twelve weeks to develop their work.
The course was unbelievably popular: we had 86 expressions of interest from members in Merseyside. The members that did get the opportunity to attend the course were full of praise for the amazing experience they had on the course, working with WOW. I can honestly say the pieces of writing our members created were phenomenal. At the launch of Reflections, the book that contains their work, I laughed and I cried, I was so moved by their stories and their talent.
“The members who participated came from all different sectors of our union and brought with them experiences from their work and personal lives which undoubtedly influenced their writing: The stories are funny, heart-warming and at times, sad. The group wrote about a lot of different subjects, themselves and their personal stories along with things to do with their daily life; the stories are about love, loss, family, work, and being a parent, and a particularly onerous train journey…
“Reading the these stories and hearing the strong voices of our members has been a privilege and has reminded me, once again, of the importance of sharing experiences of ordinary working people and what we can learn from each other. They are a great read and I really enjoyed each and every one”
– Kevan Nelson, UNISON North West regional secretary
One of the members who attended the course said, “It was such a great experience, the rest of the group were lovely and the course really gave me confidence in my creative skills. Seeing my work in a book is a dream come true.”