Spread the Word’s Young People’s Laureate for London Theresa Lola launches an online campaign encouraging young people to #SayYourPeace


Theresa Lola, Spread the Word’s Young People’s Laureate for London, has launched an online campaign #SayYourPeace to get young people talking about the things that bring them peace during the uncertain times the world is facing. 

Theresa announced the campaign by sharing a newly commissioned poem – Let Us Play Scrabble Again – which explores a board game as a way of uniting a family. Her campaign asks young people to create their own poems in response, and to share them online using the hashtag #SayYourPeace. The campaign will also feature online poetry workshops, writing prompts, interviews with poets and much more.

A recent survey by mental health charity YoungMinds has shown that more than 80% of young people with a history of mental ill-health have found their conditions have worsened since the coronavirus crisis began in the UK. The pandemic has brought with it severe disruptions to young people’s routines, a sense of social isolation, and has prevented some young people from accessing their regular mental health support.

The #SayYourPeace campaign aims to use poetry to engage young people and asks them to share writing about the things that are bringing them peace, and keeping them going in these uncertain times. It also aims to celebrate the fact that young people are often ahead of older generations in being conscious of mental health problems, and offering support to one-another.

Theresa Lola said: “In this unprecedented time of chaos and pain every moment of peace we can hold on to is precious. While physical connection is on pause at the moment we have to find other ways to connect and encourage each other, which is why this campaign #SayYourPeace feels timely and necessary. Poetry gives us the language to express every emotion possible, whether joy, sadness, peace and everything in between. #SayYourPeace means share what brings you peace in this period of uncertainty, there is a poem ready to capture and contain it. From poetry prompts to conversations with other poets, there will be something new to tap into for inspiration each week.”

Ruth Harrison, Director of Spread the Word, which is responsible for the Young People’s Laureate for London programme, said: “Now, more than ever, we need kindness and connection and a way to express our experiences of this uncertain world. Spread the Word is proud to be supporting our Young People’s Laureate Theresa Lola’s #SayYourPeace campaign. Poetry provides a powerful way to open up conversations, as we connect with each other and discover that we are not alone. #SayYourPeace is a space to find and build community, sharing points of calm and joy whilst acknowledging our feelings of loss, anger and fear, helping us, collectively, to have agency and to start re-imagining and re-building our world.”

Young people can take part by either sharing poems on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #SayYourPeace, or by submitting them online at spreadtheword.org.uk/sayyourpeace.

Published 16 April 2020