The impact of COVID-19 on our work


Thurs 23 April update 

Spread the Word has launched a new campaign, create-write-connect. 
The campaign will bring free opportunities for writers in these difficult, and unprecedented times. There are online workshops available to book onto, and soon there will be more opportunities too. If you do have the means to pay, we ask that you make a charitable donation to Spread the Word so that we can continue to offer free accessible programmes for under-represented writers. Any donation you make, will go towards our work and the invaluable work of the Trussell Trust. You can donate here:

Tues 31 March update 

As we all have, the team at Spread the Word have spent the last few weeks adjusting to the new situation – working remotely, seeing the landscape of our world change dramatically, and importantly, looking after ourselves and being kind to each other.

We’ve been having conversations with the communities we work with and starting to re-imagine our immediate and future plans. We’ve been thinking about what practical support and creative sustenance we can offer and how we continue to build connections with, for and across our communities.

As we are starting to re-adjust and ease into our new way of working, we are focusing on a number of areas:

  • Checking in regularly with our writers and people we work with to ensure their wellbeing and good health, and to offer support where we can;

  • Re-designing our offer and developing free engagement opportunities for writers in these times of crisis, focusing on opportunities for creativity, wellbeing and signposting to funding;

  • Re-designing our bigger programmes such as the London Writers Awards, Life Writing Prize, Young People’s Laureate, London Short Story Prize and more to ensure they are deliverable for our writers and their audiences whilst being sensitive to the current climate;

  • Prioritising the future sustainability of the organisation by having regular Board meetings that focus on developing creative programmes that are responsive to and informed by the rapidly changing needs of the writers and communities we work with;

  • Checking in with partners and colleagues in different organisations, to enhance our community connections and bolster comradeship;

  • Giving ourselves permission – to be a bit slower than we normally would, to take in the enormity of the situation we’re in, to support each other as a team and to try and experiment with different ideas and approaches.

In the next couple of weeks, we’ll provide you with news and announce how you can get involved in our new activities on our website, social media and in our newsletters. Thank you for your support and encouragement at this time, and we’re really looking forward to connecting with you soon.

Original post – 18 March 2020

Like all organisations, our response to the COVID-19 outbreak is evolving continually as we monitor advice from the Government and Public Health England.

Our priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of Spread the Word permanent and freelance staff, our writers and artists, Trustees, programme participants and the communities we work with. This page will be continually updated with new information as and when we have it.

All staff are now working out of the office. This means that we will not have access to our office phone. Please email us instead ([email protected]). We are working it out as we go; so we may not get it right all the time. Please bear with us.

We are continually working on how the pandemic will impact our work.

We have decided that our regular programme of masterclasses, workshops and events at Ideas Store Whitechapel scheduled between now until June will be postponed. We will pay all our workshop leaders and event speakers to play our small role in supporting them. Our online courses and one to ones (delivered remotely) will go ahead as planned. We have been in touch with all people who booked places at our live events that are now postponed and offered refunds.

Our London Short Story Prize 2019 Anthology launch event scheduled for 23 April at the Peckham Pelican, will also not be taking place. We are currently planning how we can celebrate the writers, their stories and the anthology.

We are postponing This Is Our Place, our partnership nature writing project with London Wildlife Trust for a year – we hope workshops will take place in June 2021.

Our Room 9, open to writers each Thursday, will be closed from this week until further notice.

With regards to our other areas of work, we are currently planning what we will do. When we have updates or changes to our programmes, we will email the core people involved, and then update this page.

We’ll be posting further updates on our social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) and via our newsletter.

This is a challenging time for all of us. We will continue to work to support communities of writers, whilst prioritising people and taking care of each other. Look after yourselves and stay safe.

Published 17 March 2020

Updated 18 March 2020