A blog from our co-founder and creative director. 10 things we’re all thinking about at the moment and why we are working with The Guardian as of today.
“Keep Calm & Carry On” that was the reply to a message I posted on my FB page after sharing Steph Pedros’s mini blog on life in Rome. Unlike many random pieces of content shared on social media, I know Steph personally, she is a credible source describing what life is like in Rome right-now. It’s a hard but poetic read. It may be a sign of what is to come here in the UK.
We don’t just don’t know.
We’ve got to prepare for the worst hope for the best.
The same day I read Steph’s post my parents who live in Denaby Main decided to self isolate. Here’s a cute uplifting email on their lock-down.
Life’s changing fast in the UK, this is a long blog post about all the various things we are thinking about at Doncopolitan right now. It’s not a proper article, it’s statements, ideas and reflection just a documentation of my life right now in Doncaster.
Here’s our top ten Covid-19 things….
No.1 Does Doncopolitan have moral responsibility right now to help people understand what’s happening in their community as the virus spreads?
Should we be using our platform and Doncopolitan to share information? Would a post from a staff member at DRI maybe be a useful read for those of us thinking about our local services and how they are gearing up to deal with a Doncaster based out-break? I made a post on our Doncopolitan facebook page to see if people would be interested in us sharing information.
I decided to reach out to a member of staff at DRI for a chat….
Me: Heya pal – I’m thinking we are going to start sharing Covid-19 virus updates on Doncopolitan What’s your thoughts?
“All I can say is Currently, as of writing this post to you there are no tested confirmed cases in Doncaster. Contingency plans are in place for the hospital to cope with extra demand for the service and plans are in place in the event of losing staff to the illness or school closures. Testing for the virus will only happen to patients admitted and self isolated patients won’t be tested. A Covid-19 meeting happens every day to keep managers up to date and share info. Plans for the future, are non essential, services and office staff will work from home. I’m sure there are cases in Doncaster that have not been tested. Anyone who presents to A & E with the same symptoms as Corona or a chest infection are tested and treated as positive until otherwise. People need to keep to health advice. Don’t go to the hospital. Call 111 for advice and only go to hospital if you have severe breathing issues or complications due to underlying health problems.
No.2 Big news for us Doncopolitan, we are official working with the Guardian.
After our call-out on Facebook asking if we should cover stories relating to Covid-19. I also spoke with John a videographer at the Guardian. I have been working with John Domokos on a documentary project since Doncopolitan Crawl last summer. The doc was about how northern towns re-inventing themselves after industrial decline and austerity. John said that Covid-19 will mean he won’t be able to leave London and that we need to look at a new way to move our work forwards. The new direction of this project will mean that me, other members of Donco and anyone else else interested in collaborating will start document our daily lives and how this virus is changing life in Doncaster. I will keep everyone posted on this.
No. 3 My work at the hospice.
Some Doncopolitan readers might be aware I work at St John’s Hospice three days per week as well as running Doncopolitan. Working freelance like many artists, means I don’t get sick pay. When the news was announced on Friday the 13th all non essential services would possibly close, I realised, I might be going on a very long Covid-19 holiday in DN1. Luckily, our clinical leaders (big gaffers) decided that they have “a duty of care to look after me”: I will be asked to take part in different roles within the hospice. It’s a very uncertain time for creatives. I am very grateful to my colleagues for keeping me in work. For any creatives reading this the Arts Council and other grant giving trusts are looking at what they can to do help. We’ll publish more on this very soon.
No. 4. Shop and business closures
With Doncopolitan going on Sabbatical, I haven’t had my nose to the ground, especially when is comes to local businesses closing in the town centre. We’ve always written about the importance of our local economy to regenerate the town. We’ve spent years putting on events, writing and promoting businesses to get people to come into DN1 and engage with town centre life. Closures have really spiked over 2019 and 2020. I wanted to try and document them. Could you help with this?
No Clucks at the Hallcross (03/20)
Jam Horse (03/20)
Kookys Venue (12/19)
Secrets (Date TBC)
Top Shop (03/20)
Boots (Fishergate) (03/20)
Body Shop (some time in 2019)
House of Fraiser (03/20)
Hyggy Hut (2020)
Guilt Free Furie (2019)
Are there more?
No. 5. Third Sector Organisations.
This is a really precocious time for people in our community that run grant funded projects and provided services to those that are vulnerable. We know some of these projects and the people behind them personally, they fight tooth-and-nail to deliver what they do and hold up our community. With so many uncertainties right now, these organisations may face closures. We will follow-up with any information we can source on what local authorities and the government are doing to support the third sector.
No. 6. We need to think about local food systems.
Many of our followers are aware Bentley Urban Farm is a sister project to Doncopolian. We set-up this project to show we can grow food locally in our own communities. The UK Food Systems are unsustainable if global food chains collapse but we can learn to grow food here. We can change our crazy relationship with food, how it is produced and sold. Because of this we are re-launching our veg box scheme, especially to those that are self isolating. We’ll be documenting this live for our project with the Guardian.
No.7. Mutual Aid Groups
At the same time as people are having fights over toilet roll in Aldi, brilliant people in Doncaster are going the extra mile to support those in need. Join Doncaster mutual aid group on Facebook set-up by local teacher Caitlin Nic Carthaigh to find out different ways to help people that are self-isolating and vulnerable.
Lani and Nidge, our local Councillors in Conisbrough and Denaby are also setting up support for their residents in the Dearne Valley Area. Alhannah Butler a young mum in Armthorpe has been making care packages for the vulnerable and elderly. Read the full story read HERE
No.8 Doncaster’s Freelance Creative Community.
We’re really sad to hear many freelancers we have worked with at Doncopolitan have lost work and income. We saw that Tawny Kay a pioneer in Burlesque has lost £1200 in flights for an artist she booked to come from the US and perform at Cast. Peter and Becky from Thorne who run Something To Smile About Festival have also cancelled their event, which we know takes them a full year to organise. Events are their livelihood. We need to support these local creatives and keep them afloat. If you have been if you have lost work or icome get in touch, let’s see what we can do to support you.
No. 9 Let’s be creative.
We’re looking at collaborating with Cast on creative project, we can share on our socials. It’s not signed off yet but we hope we can help to create some moments of joy of online for our followers. We also love the these illustration by Al Heighton who has graced the covers of Doncopolitan in over the years.
No. 10 Keep Sane.
Now is the time to do all those things we can’t normally do. Clean and decorate the house, spend more time with the kids, write that book, walk the dog, learn to meditate. We can do this! We’ll try and share as many things as we can on our page that might be useful, if you are self isolating at home with kids or you what to chat please reach-out to us.
Keep up to date with us and message us back if you want to collab on anything. firstname.lastname@example.org