Merseyside members tell their own stories thanks to UNISON course

Ten UNISON members on Merseyside have had their stories, poems and life writing published in a collection called Reflections.

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The collection gathers together work they did on a 12-week UNISON course with the Liverpool based creative writing organisation Writing on the Wall (WoW).

Taken together, the pieces represent a rich variety of working class experience, looking at the impact of regeneration schemes of local communities, the long-term effects of the lack of parental love and the search for a biological father that ends with an unexpected discovery.

There are painful contributions looking at stifling friendship and remembering a beloved father and there are comic entries like the one recalling the disastrous first day of a cycling trip.

In the preface to the collection North West Regional Secretary Kevan Nelson writes:

Reading 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.”

It was Regional Learning and Development Organiser Lyndsey Marchant who approached WoW about the possibility of organising a course when several members told her they would be interested.

Lyndsey said:

Working with WoW was a natural fit: it’s a well-known organisation in Liverpool that has the same values that UNISON does, promoting equality and promoting diversity.”

Working with them was a great opportunity to bring a vibrant and exciting course to our members.”

Everyone who took part was full of praise for the course, which was led by Jeff Young, Ginni Manning and Cheryl Martin.

Lyndsey said:

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.”