In Spring 2021, LeftCoast were invited by Groundwork Cheshire, Lancashire & Merseyside and Arts Council England to create a project that would directly and regularly engage with isolated, digitally excluded elderly people living in Blackpool.
For many people, the transition out of lockdown and the gradual lifting of restrictions will bring the longed-for opportunities to see friends and family, to get back to the shops, to work, and to doing many of the things we liked to do before. But for some of us, particularly those who have been shielding because of their age, or because of a medical condition that could make them vulnerable to the Coronavirus, the adjustment back to real life might not be as straight forward. For some, the end of lockdown might be as hard as the start was.
We were keen to create something joyful that would provide gentle support to Blackpool’s most socially isolated and encourage fresh opportunities for real connection and meaningful interaction with others to help people, once again, feel part of the communities that they have been physically excluded from for much of the last year.
Working with Creative Director and Writer, Alex O’Toole, we developed the idea of a beautiful limited-edition, accessibly designed newspaper called The Upside, to be hand-delivered to residents by a group of volunteer ‘Upsiders’ via LeftCoast’s SOS Rescue Ship as part of a series of neighbourhood ‘curtain-twitching’ events across Blackpool during April – June 2021.
If you don’t manage to pick up a physical copy from one of our community partner venues, you can now read the first two editions online:
Read The Upside Issue 1
Read The Upside Issue 2
Read The Upside Issue 3
Read The Upside Issue 4
Check back soon to listen to a talking version of The Upside.