Opening the Emotional Letterbox with Jenny Berry

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As we start to come out of lockdown slowly but surely into some kind of normality, it is perhaps best to think of the damage not it has done to ourselves as adults but to the next generation who will follow in our footsteps. I’ve got a nephew who I know as of writing hasn’t been to School since March and although has been told he will be going back to School in September has been having his lessons via Zoom which I find incredible at this time in his development into an adult.

Thankfully some people are taking to react to this and help children in ways that just doesn’t involve sitting on Zoom chatting to their parents. With this is mind, Salford Poet / Writer Jenny Berry has developed a new project in mind for children called the emotional letterbox ‘During my time as a poet I’ve worked with many marginalised societies in need of a safe space to express themselves” She begins “I myself went from a very shy kid to a gobby one and I feel from feeling too shy to speak out at school sometimes this built up into anger as I got older”

As a writer and performer myself I went through very similar emotions growing up and can understand and agree with her completely over this as she carries on “Poetry and writing helps me explore and vent whilst storytelling I love it. Most inmates I’ve worked with have told me if they’d have been taught how to Express their feelings they’d most probably not have ended up in prison. Now that’s powerful!”

“When Covid hit I saw the knock on effect it had on all ages but the kids were hit the worst I think!” She carried on “Not socialising other than on zoom! Oh no, that’s not good I thought so I literally thought how can I help them communicate. So the letterbox was born. The idea is a metaphor of giving good and receiving back. You post a letter it can be a story, poem, picture whatever your art is. Then I open it fortnightly to receive one back out. It’s just the magic of telling and receiving a story to keep a positive mindset and to get children off screens. I’m hoping families may use it as an opportunity for a walk and its outside The Coal and Cotton in Boothstown a new family pub. Maybe have a bite to eat and use the experience to talk over food and not Instagram”

Parents can get their children involved with writing and post a letter outside The Coal & Cotton in Boothstown. Coal & Cotton, 44 Leigh Rd, M28 1LR

Jenny’s Podcast ‘The Word On Our Street’ with professional magician Carl Royle is broadcast weekly with the shows aim to discuss our bustling arts scene in a light-hearted and unpretentious manner. This can be accessed on https://wordonourstreet.podbean.com/ Jenny’s website is https://www.jennyberry.co.uk/

Andy N is the author of four full length poetry collections - the most recent being the Streets were all we could see. He is also the host / creator of 'Spoken Label' - a author / writer chat series as well as Podcast series such as Reading in Bed, Comics Unity, Wrestle-Up and the Koll, Andy N and Amanda show. He also ambient music under the name of Ocean in a Bottle. His official blog is onewriterandhisplc.blogspot.com Occasionally he does sleep.