Six covid memorials to be installed across South Tyneside remembering lost lives and impacts on communities

Six covid memorials will be installed across South Tyneside to remember the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the borough’s communities – and the team behind the project wants to hear your ideas.

South Tyneside Council is working with arts project The Cultural Spring on the initiative that encourages members of the public to talk about their own experiences of the pandemic.

A series of consultation sessions taking place over the coming weeks.

One element of the project is developing inscriptions for six new Covid memorials planned for towns and villages across the borough.

Sandhaven Beach, South Shields, during the covid lockdown.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “The coronavirus pandemic affected us all in some way.

"Our communities not only pulled together to help each other during these difficult times but provided much-needed support and comfort to the many people suffering tragic loss.

“Back in 2020, we said we wanted to create a meaningful and lasting memorial to loved ones lost to the coronavirus pandemic, to commemorate their lives and to provide a special place and focal point for families and friends to reflect and remember.

“We also said that we would involve our entire community in developing a tribute that marks the sacrifices made by the people of South Tyneside.

“We are delighted to be working with our partners at The Cultural Spring on this poignant project, supporting people to come together once again to share their stories and leave a legacy behind for future generations to contemplate the dark times we all endured.”

Emma Horsman, project director at The Cultural Spring, said consultation sessions will discuss how communities and neighbourhoods could commemorate what has happened during the last two and a half years.

“The sessions will be led sensitively, respectfully and tactfully as we’re well aware how traumatic the pandemic has been for so many people,” she said.

"We hope as many people as possible will come along to share their experiences and add their voices to how we remember what happened and commemorate those we’ve sadly lost through Covid.

“Each of the memorials will have its own inscription, we’d like to discuss developing wording for each one, but we’ll also like to talk about how else communities would like to recognise what’s happened.”

She added: "This might involve discussing what artforms could be used for the project – dance, drama, singing or visual arts.

“As part of these discussions we’ll show examples of what other areas have done to artistically to mark the impact of Covid and we’ll start off by asking such questions as ‘what were the challenges you faced?’ and ‘what does the new normal look like as a result of the pandemic?”

It is anticipated that the work produced will be shared, and the new Covid memorials will be unveiled, in spring next year.

The community engagement sessions are being led by experienced artist Lesley Wood and take place on:

Tuesday, September 6

10am Jarrow Big Local, Grange Rd, Jarrow

1pm Barnes Institute, East St, Whitburn

5pm Ocean Road Community Association, Ocean Road, South Shields

Monday, September 12

10am Friends of Hebburn Cemetery Café, Victoria Rd, Hebburn

1pm Boldon Community Association (Roberts Room), New Rd, Boldon

Tuesday, September 20

10am Barnes Institute, East St, Whitburn

1pm Ocean Road Community Association, Ocean Road, South Shields

5pm Cleadon Methodist Hall, 8 Sunderland Rd, Cleadon

Saturday, October 1

10am Jarrow Focus, Cambrian St, Jarrow

1pm Carr Ellison Park Bowling Club, Canning St, Hebburn

Monday, October 3

10am The Stables, next to Independent Methodist Church, 3 North Rd, Boldon Colliery

1pm Cleadon Methodist Hall, 8 Sunderland Rd, Cleadon.

All are welcome to attend. For further information, or to confirm attendance, email [email protected]