Our New Project – Tales of Covid: London and the Pandemic

Our new project 'Tales of Covid: London and the Pandemic' with Simon Petherick will explore London's charities and community groups' experience of the pandemic.

London Plus are pleased to announce that we are working with Simon Petherick on our new project: ‘Tales of Covid: London and the Pandemic’. Read Simon’s blog about the project to see how you can get involved.

London and the Pandemic

As a writer and Londoner, I witnessed the history of the Covid pandemic alongside the 10 million residents of our capital city. The first rumours began in January 2020 of a new respiratory illness strain in China. Next were the Prime Minister’s solemn words on television on the 23rd March (“You must stay at home”). London’s future suddenly seemed, for the first time in my memory, uncertain.

By the first week of April, the streets were empty. In the early morning, with the Heathrow flightpath over my home silenced and in the absence of cars, the birds seemed to sing more loudly and freely than ever before. On the one hour daily walk sanctioned by the government, I’d walk over Kew Bridge in the middle of an empty road. I listened to the news obsessively. I also bought a subscription to Zoom.

Eighteen months later, we have some perspective. Certainly, our scientists have achieved what had been thought impossible. With the vaccines, we can see a future that, while still containing uncertainties and fundamental shifts in behaviour, is sustainable. The worst, surely, is over.

London’s charities and community groups

We might now, for the first time, be able to reflect on our experiences. I am thrilled to be researching and writing a publication about the capital’s experience of the pandemic. With support from London Plus, who help co-ordinate London’s voluntary and community sector.

In particular, we want to explore how our communities across all 32 boroughs reacted to and dealt with the pandemic. This includes the role of volunteers and the huge numbers of community groups that sprung up or took on the challenge of supporting their neighbourhoods. Not to mention the countless extraordinary stories of selflessness, solidarity & support.

Over the next five months, I will speak to community members and organisations in every London borough. Their stories will be collected into a publication to be launched in 2022. London Plus intends to use ‘Tales of Covid’ as part of its mission to support and promote the capital’s charities and community sector.

It is aimed at both policymakers and the wider public. As well as teaching us how to respond to future challenges, I hope it can inspire all Londoners by capturing the tales of sacrifice, surges of community spirit and selfless endeavour that helped the city make it through.

Contact Simon

The contact email address for the Tales of Covid project is

Please contact me with any suggestions for topics and stories I should be investigating. I look forward to hearing from you.

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